A community project helping to improve the lives of people living in Blyth was the focus of attention at a national conference.

Northumberland County Council’s Resident Involvement Team was invited to give a workshop highlighting the Newsham Community Matters project,  at the Tpas tenant engagement national conference in Warwick, earlier in July.

The “Communities doing it for themselves” workshop focused on what the council has learned throughout the project as well as sharing best practice.

The workshop covered issues such as engaging and creating interest amongst tenants, outcomes of the project and the positive impact it has had on the community, with the team presenting to housing associations, tenants and other councils from across the UK.

Newsham Community Matters was launched in March to help people of all ages living in the area to maximise their own potential and support improvements within the community. Using a £25,000 grant from NE Procurement a series of activities and courses have been developed under three themes, IT Matters, Practical Matters and Family Matters.

Amanda Mason, Resident Involvement Manager at Northumberland County Council said: “We were delighted to be invited to present at the Tpas conference.

“It was great to share the successes and challenges we have faced during this project, and be able to show other housing providers the benefits of engaging with tenants.”

As part of the project residents have been able to get involved in lunch clubs, exercise classes, IT courses, to help with job searches and First Aid courses and cookery classes. A community allotment has now also been purchased and a community-led charitable trust has been formed to take the project forward.

Amanda added: “Newsham Community Matters has been a hugely successful project, and we have had some really positive feedback from residents, so much so we are hoping to run a similar project in Alnwick.”