Making things matter in Newsham

A new community project led by Northumberland County Council and funded by NE  Procurement is striving to improve the lives of people living in Newsham, Blyth.

After a series of anti-social behaviour incidents in the area, the council carried out a door-to-door survey, with Northumbria Police, to find out what the main issues were, and what people wanted to see happen in their community.

More than 300 households responded, with residents saying they would like to see a community project to help bring pride back to the area.

From there the council worked with tenants, residents and other agencies in the area to develop the “Newsham Community Matters” project. A Community Interest Company, led by tenants and residents, will now be formed to take the project forward.

With a £25,000 grant from NE Procurement, the scheme will offer residents activities and courses to help improve their lives for the future.

These will focus on three themes, IT Matters, such as help with job applications and benefit claims; Practical Matters, such as First Aid, tenancy advice and confidence building, and Family Matters, such as cooking on a budget and healthy lifestyle advice. Courses will be held at the Church of Yahweh, St Bede’s Church Hall and The Pavillion and start on Tuesday 21 March.

A free family fun day to launch the project will be held at The Pavillion on March 18th between 10am and 2pm. There will be a children’s parade, Princess and Pirate fancy dress, treasure hunt, raffles as well as the chance to sign up to courses and find out lots more information about the project.

Other partners involved in the project are Northumbria Police, Community Voluntary Action Blyth Valley (CVABV), Silx Employability Project, Northern Learning Trust, the Army, Northumbria NHS Healthcare Trust, British Red Cross, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Sure Start and Blyth Spartans, who, along with volunteers from the community, will deliver courses and activity sessions.

Leaflets and posters giving further details of the project and the family fun day will be going out in the community this week.

Allan Hepple, Northumberland County Councillor and cabinet member for housing said: “This community project will help residents to gain new life skills, as well as potentially improving their employability and general health.

“The council responded to concerns raised by those living in Newsham and now we hope that the community will take this project forward to benefit everyone living in the area.”   

Irene Willis, 72, has lived in Newsham for more than 50 years, said: “I have seen a lot of changes over the years, but recently we seem to have lost that community pride in the area.

“This project has so many different elements to it that I think there is something for everyone. Working together, and getting the older generation to help the younger one, will hopefully not only improve the community but also the lives of people who live here.

“I would encourage everyone to go along to the open day and find out what courses and activities could benefit them.”

Rod Brassington, chief executive at NE Procurement said: “We are very proud to be supporting the Newsham Community Matters project. It is a great initiative which will benefit everyone in the local area and help to bring the whole community together. We are sure it will be a very successful project and wish those involved great success.”

For more information on courses call 07552260613 or like the Newsham Community Matters page on Facebook.
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