18372Social enterprise Groundwork NE & Cumbria has secured a £355,400 Big Lottery Award that will boost community spirt and residents’ wellbeing in the Gateshead area.

Groundwork, which this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary, will develop the Community Hub @ Lobley Hill by rejuvenating an existing community centre at Scafell Gardens.

The aim of the project is to increase community participation through activities, including those for older people, healthy lifestyle programmes and the chance to learn new skills.

There also will be volunteering opportunities, a lunch club, health classes, gardening sessions, access to IT facilities, and a community newsletter.

The investment will include an upgrade of the premises including improvements to the kitchen, new furniture, IT equipment including computers and improvements to an outside football court.

Kate Culverhouse, Groundwork NE & Cumbria Chief Executive, said: “It is so exciting to secure a grant of this magnitude in our 30th anniversary year.

“What better way to mark decades of Groundwork changing lives and changing places than to continue with our life-enhancing work through such a substantial project.

“The Community Hub @ Lobley Hill will offer services that people want to see and will engage with the community to provide a wide range of activities that are all aimed at improving health and reducing social isolation.

“Community volunteers will be recruited to steer the development and ensure the long-term sustainability of the various elements making up the project.”

Groundwork has a forged a track record in working with a range of organisations. Key partners on the Community Hub @Lobley Hill project are Gateshead Council, Gateshead Volunteer Library, Lobley Hill Youth Development group and Lobley Hill Friendship Group. Other groups that use the centre also will be encouraged to get involved.

Gateshead Council handed over responsibility for the management of the community centre to Groundwork under a community asset transfer arrangement.

Councillor Linda Green, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Volunteering, said: “This centre already hosts a wide range of community activities including a parents and tots group, a youth club, an active kids evening, dance sessions, and a library.

“Thanks to the success of Groundwork’s Lottery bid, I feel sure the centre will continue to have a positive impact and play an important role in the local community.”

Stephen Armstrong, Groundwork Tyne and Wear Area Manager, said: “This three year project, which will start in the next few months, will lead to a vibrant, more active community centre that responds to community needs, as well as improved social inclusion, and volunteering opportunities.”
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The funding is a Reaching Communities award, which is part of the Big Lottery Fund, which supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK.

The Reaching Communities large grants programme makes Lottery awards of  £10,000 and more to support people and communities most in need to give people better life chances, develop stronger communities, improve rural and urban environments and promote healthier more active people and communities.