We are committed to supporting a dynamic and more inclusive economy that brings together people and opportunities to create vibrant communities and a good quality of life for everyone. Key to this vision is investing in local assets to strengthen communities.
In July 2020, the North of Tyne Cabinet approved the creation of a ‘Community Hubs Investment Fund’ to support community-led innovation and help community organisations play a central role in post-pandemic recovery and into the future.
This was one of Mayor Jamie Driscoll’s priorities as detailed in his 2019 manifesto.
Mayor Driscoll said “The places we live are constantly changing, but the importance of community remains. Community hubs based in designated multi-purpose buildings should be at the centre of communities, providing safe spaces for people of all ages, so everyone, toddler, teenager to the retired can participate in education, economic and cultural life.”
£500,000 was awarded to each of our three constituent local authorities, who developed their own investment plans based on local needs, and in consultation with local community partners.
North Tyneside Council provided funding to 13 community centres, who mainly invested in building improvements or new resources for their centres. They also created the Spirit of North Tyneside in Wallsend, which is home to local infrastructure organisation VODA and is a hub for the voluntary and community sectors.
Newcastle City Council focussed on two strands of investment. The first was around supporting social and community enterprises with their project ideas. They also invested in four children and family hubs across Newcastle offering support to families with:
Northumberland County Council provided small grants to 25 small community centres in the area and invested around £90,000 in 3 larger community hubs in Newbiggin, Cramlington and Lynemouth. Many of the centres are now being opened as warm hubs and were a huge asset to local residents during the storms of 2021 and 2022.
An interim evaluation of the programme is available, here and a final evaluation is in progress.
While this programme is now complete, there may be further funding opportunities for community hubs through the community partnerships initiative within UKSPF.