The refurbishment work that is being undertaken by the Byker Community Trust (BCT) on the iconic Byker Wall in Newcastle is not only making huge improvements for residents but has also brought back happy memories for one of the workers involved in delivering the project.
Work commenced on the £9.5m refurbishment of the Grade II* listed building last April and has already passed the half way stage with windows and doors fitted to over 250 properties.
Resident liaison officer, Lyndsey Leitch who works for one of the BCT’s construction partners, Keepmoat, a housing and regeneration specialist, is responsible for liaising with residents by keeping them informed of the improvement programme and the works that are being undertaken to their homes.
Lyndsey who used to live in Felton Walk on the Byker Wall from the age of three years old, said: “Helping to deliver this project has brought back so many good memories of my childhood days and a lot of friends who I grew up with still live on the estate today. We all used to play out together and I can even remember special occasions like when we celebrated royal weddings in the street.
“As a former resident, this has really benefited me as I already know a lot of the residents and we reminisce about what we used to do when we were younger. It felt a little bit strange stepping into my old home but it brought back a lot of fond memories when I used to live here with my mam.”
In addition to the improvements on the Byker Wall, the BCT and Keepmoat have been working in partnership to support and deliver a number of community initiatives. Lyndsey said: “We have been working with residents, community groups and businesses on the estate and have even been working with pupils from St. Lawrence’s Primary school where I used to attend. It’s been nice working with the pupils and teachers and in particular, Ms Lamb who retired last year because I was one of her pupils.”
Lyndsey who now lives on Cochrane Park in Newcastle with her husband and two children, continued: “So much has changed on the estate since the 1980’s and residents have praised the work that is being undertaken to improve their homes. The external works that are being undertaken have made the whole estate a lot brighter and more vibrant. All the residents have been very co-operative and lovely to work with. You can sense this is a new Byker and everyone on the estate can see that change is happening and there is a positive vibe within the community.”
The improvement works, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, also include the installation of a new roof and external improvements to communal stairwells and entrances, a new digital aerial system and upgrading of the door entry and CCTV systems. Work is also underway to replace the district heating system, which provides heating and hot water to all properties on the estate.