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From Jason Reeve, Service Manager of Coalway Lane:

“Staff and service users at Coalway Lane, one of MHC’s 24-hour rehabilitation services, celebrated the unit’s 20th anniversary in October this year.

“Coalway Lane opened on 10 October 1995 during the planned closure of St Mary’s Hospital in Stannington. For staff old enough to remember, Coalway Lane was set up as a ‘shadow service’ in St Mary’s, in preparation for the move to Gateshead. The rehab service was established in early 1995, using the old Ravensworth building and a couple of two-bedroomed flats in the main building of the hospital, before moving to the current community site.

“Coalway Lane was built on ‘wasteland’ in the middle of a residential area in Swalwell, only a 10-minute walk from the Metro Centre. We have worked hard from the opening day to integrate and blend in with the local community; we are now a valued local service with excellent relationships with our neighbours.

“The celebration was a hastily arranged and low-key affair (mainly due to getting the anniversary date wrong – we thought it was 21 October 1995!) but was well-attended by both service users and staff. The star guest at the party was the last remaining original service user from our opening day in 1995, who is still a resident and had the honour of blowing out the candles and cutting the cake.

“Also in attendance were the three original staff members who spent the afternoon reminiscing and sharing some happy, interesting, sad, and sometimes hilarious stories from over the years.

“The day was enjoyed by all and we look forward to providing another 20 years’ service to the people of Gateshead and Newcastle.”

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