A centre that aims to transform the lives of women in Dungannon has completed a major refurbishment programme with the help of a £35,000 donation from the Asda Foundation.

Our Cookstown store's community champion Janice Gibson and store manager Peter Beckett worked closely with the First Steps Women's Centre to help secure the grant and went along to the centre's official opening to see the difference it's made to its work.

The centre offers “life-changing” services to women in Dungannon by providing educational and training support, health and wellbeing services and a safe space to meet other women. It hosts 175 women and 45 children every week and has been going for more than 20 years.

The Asda Foundation grant funded a new crèche within the centre and helped complete the project which cost £475,000 overall, including £350,000 from the Big Lottery under their Space & Place programme. As part of the refurbishment the centre expanded into an old abandoned underground mill.

Chief executive of First Steps Women’s Centre, Michael McGoldrick, said he was “gobsmacked” by the support offered by Asda.

“The £35,000 made a massive difference to our centre. The Asda donation helped ensure we had a proper crèche facility based within the centre. Prior to this project First Steps Women's Centre was having to use rooms in a local youth club for our crèche. Every single day the childcare staff had to set up and take down all of the childcare equipment and toys. Now we have are very own high spec crèche.

“We’re delighted and completely gobsmacked by the generosity of the Asda Foundation and in particular the support from the Cookstown store.”

Janice said: “It’s a fantastic place that does really great work. I’ve met people while volunteering my time at other charities that have used the centre and we even have colleagues in store who have done training courses there previously.”