Community project nominated in national awards

A community project in Blyth which was set up to tackle anti-social behaviour and low levels of employment has been nominated for a national award.

Newsham Community Matters, set up by Northumberland County Council’s Housing Service, has been nominated in the Tpas (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) North Region awards in the Excellence in Community Action category. Tpas are England’s leading tenant engagement experts bringing landlords, tenants and contractors together to find solutions to improve services, save money and bring lasting change to communities.

The Newsham project was set up in March 2017 following consultation with residents in the area to establish community issues and suggestions for improvements. 

From this a series of themes were developed, Youth Matters; It Matters and Practical Matters and a range of activities, groups and classes were set up to support these themes; including a Learning Hive, lunch and craft club and a community allotment.
Youngsters in the community have also benefited from a programme of activities developed by the British Army Reserves and Silx Teen Bar, which focused on leadership skills and communication skills.

The project has brought together local agencies such as the Police; Youth Services; the council’s health team; Community and Voluntary Action Blyth and most importantly the local community. Links have also been established with The Northern Learning Trust who provide a tutor to facilitate a learning hive in the community.  

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for housing at the council, said: “We are delighted to receive this nomination for a project which everyone involved can be proud of.

“We listened very carefully to the concerns and issues raised by the community and have endeavoured to develop a project which not only addresses these, but also instills a sense of pride in the area.

“Anti-social behaviour, the perceived fear of crime and social isolation were all areas of concern for the community, and as a result of the partnerships we have established we are now seeing a real positive change in people’s lives.

“The project is helping residents to improve their employability; life skills, make new friends and most importantly it’s giving them the confidence to be part of their community.”  

The award ceremony will be held in Manchester on March 16 (Fri) and regional winners will then go on to compete at the national awards in July.
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