The North of Tyne Cabinet has agreed a pilot scheme to fund multi-use community hubs for the future as the region looks beyond the immediate Coronavirus pandemic.
A new £1.5 million Community Hubs Investment Fund will support organisations in Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland that provide a range of community services under one roof. Community hubs and centres have played a vital role in lockdown – providing hot meals and a helping hand to residents across the North of Tyne.
The new Fund will help these organisations continue to a play a central role in the recovery – offering everything from parent and toddler groups, employment support, and a space for new business start-ups, in a safe and supportive way.
Under the plans Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, and Northumberland County Council will work with the North of Tyne Combined Authority to support projects and organisations adapting to the effects of COVID-19 – whether that is developing new services, working with new groups of people or delivering more virtually.
The Combined Authority will also work with its local authorities to understand ‘what works best’ – with the aim of securing more investment in future.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Community Hubs are the centre of our communities. They can provide safe spaces for people of all ages, from toddler to teenager to the retired – offering training, access to jobs, advice and support, as well as local ways to connect and make a difference.
“Just as every area is different – every village, every town, every city – each hub will be different. That’s their strength and the strength of this new Fund.”
Mayoral Ambassador for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector Robin Fry said: “I really welcome the opportunity for the voluntary sector to have some input in helping to identify and shape some of this going forward.
“There’s loads of energy and enthusiasm on our side to help push this one along.”