A much-needed Prestwich community centre is expanding its services to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

The Phoenix Centre, in St Mary’s Park, is a vital hub for the community and is used by more than 2,000 people every month.

It hosts several groups and sessions throughout the week and demand has increased with numbers attending the after-school club having doubled since the covid pandemic.

Cindy Willcock, the manager of the centre, said: “After covid a lot of people found they had nowhere to go. We found that some people started coming along just out of interest and others came specifically for some of our sessions.

“We now have a centre which is used all the time.

“We have informal conversations during sessions and at coffee mornings about the cost of living. People raise specific issues they are having.”

After the increasing demand, the group has successfully applied for a grant of £2,000 from the Community Cost of Living Fund from the council, managed through Bury Voluntary, Community, Faith Alliance.

Cindy said: “The grant means that we will be able to put on more formal sessions.

“For example, sewing is something the kids enjoy but it is a life skill.

“Those coming to the after-school clubs want to learn how to repair items and the kids enjoy the physical activity.”

The money will also be used to put on more structured sessions such as making the most out of budgets, cooking healthy meals on a budget particularly for teenagers and boys, teaching sewing, and improving people’s digital skills.

Councillor Richard Gold, cabinet member for finance and communities said: “The Phoenix Centre really is at the heart of the community, and it was a pleasure to visit and see the good work being done.

“Groups such as the Phoenix Centre are at the sharp end of providing support during the cost of living crisis to our residents.

“As part of our anti-poverty strategy we have chosen to use money from the government’s Household Support Fund to set up the Community Fund to help our voluntary and community sector with grants.

“With the help of our partners, such as Bury and Bolton Citizens Advice, we can help them to help our residents.”