Local Conversation creates change in Gateshead

09 December 2015

A new community hub is helping residents living on the Old Fold and Nest estates, Gateshead, to form friendships as the two communities unite to shape their future.

Two shops that have stood empty for more than eight years are to be transformed into a vibrant community hub. The design and refurbishments will be led by residents on the two estates. 

Community group Edberts House has secured funding of more than £320,000 from People’s Health Trust – using money raised by HealthRespect through The Health Lottery.

The investment has been awarded through the Trust’s Local Conversations programme, which involves supporting residents to develop a shared vision for their community.

The programme puts residents at the heart of community initiatives so that they can take control of the design, development and delivery of local change.

In North Felling, Gateshead, local residents have formed a steering group which led a five-month engagement process - speaking to the wider community about changes they would like to see in the area.

A temporary hub was also set up in a disused shop in the heart of the Nest estate so that people could drop by and have their say.

More than 1,000 residents were involved in the ongoing engagement process and neighbourhood priorities were decided at a community fun day and picnic.

One of the biggest things to come out of the engagement process was a need for a community space where local people could meet regularly.

The steering group has now secured two disused buildings in the area to create a permanent community hub.

The hub is being redesigned by local people and refurbished to incorporate a community bakery that will help people learn new skills.

Sarah Gorman, Project Director for Edberts House, said: “When we set up the temporary hub, residents would drop by with flasks of tea and helped us to clean up and clear the back yard. People were keen to chat about the Local Conversation and what they would like to see in the area.

“Even though these two estates are next to each other, a lot of people said that the area feels fragmented.

“This is a great opportunity to strengthen connections between people and residents are really excited to establish regular opportunities to meet new people, build relationships and offer each other support.”

John Hume, Chief Executive of People’s Health Trust, said: “This is a very exciting initiative: a chance for residents new and old to come up with a shared and inspiring vision for their neighbourhood and to decide how this vision can be achieved.”

Read more about the Local Conversation in Gateshead here.

See more photos from this group here.

Read more news from the Trust here

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