New manager for the Downside Community Centre

The trustees of Pan Together – the charity which exists to support and provide a community hub for the residents of East Newport – are delighted to announce that, following competitive interviews, Rachel Thomson took up the new post of Community Centre Manager on Monday 3rd June 2019.

With thanks to three years of generous grant-funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, this new role will co-ordinate the many activities at the centre, in addition to fundraising and bid-writing for additional sources of income. Rachel will also be networking actively and hopes to maintain and develop partnerships with other agencies to bring more people to the centre to increase its impact within the local community.

Helen Osborne, lead trustee of Pan Together, said, “I have lived on Pan, on and off, for 60 years and – having been involved in the community for a long time – I’ve seen lots of changes, the main one since the start of Pan Together in 2007 being this appointment. We are the hub of the whole estate, old and new, and we also have an Older Voices’ Circle where you can let your voice be heard and meet new friends. I’m looking forward to seeing where our new Manager is going to take us in the future”.

Laura Byrne, Pan Together Chair, said, “I’m delighted that the position of Centre Manager has been filled and am looking forward to securing a better future for the centre and, most
importantly, for the community. Thanks to everyone who plays the National Lottery. We
wouldn’t have got the funding without you”.

Rachel Thomson explained, “After coming to the Island nine years ago to take up the post of Head of Business & Charity at St Catherine’s special school in Ventnor, I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to help shape and make a significant contribution to Pan Together’s vision to develop the already vibrant centre’s role at the heart of the community to new levels. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of helping to secure its on-going and future success to furthersupport more and different local residents of all ages and abilities”.

“For further information about Downside Community Centre’s services – including room hire for meetings, training courses and a wide range of events – or to find out other ways in which you can get involved, pop into the centre in Furrlongs, Newport, PO30 2AX, phone 01983 248170 or email The Isobel Community Café, managed by Gayna Ryan, is open from 9am to 4pm each weekday offering great wholesome food freshly made to order, including hot food specials, a selection of sandwiches and baguettes, big breakfasts and Thursday roast dinners – all at affordable prices. Do get in touch to see for yourself the range of activities on offer”.