Meadow Well Estate’s community development charity, The Cedarwood Trust has made a huge leap forward in its campaign to encourage North Tyneside Council to allow them to take over a large, empty community centre on the estate to provide much needed facilities for the community.
The Avenues Centre is due to be demolished unless a buyer can be found and now, a funder has come forward and pledged the money to the Cedarwood Trust to complete the purchase of the facilities. The purchase would vastly improve the facilities currently available and be used to improve the quality of life on an estate where life expectancy is known to be 10 years less than those living just five miles away.
The situation has been helped by The Tudor Trust who have previously made seven separate grant commitments to Cedarwood (totalling £280,500) since 1985, reflecting their admiration for Cedarwood’s focus on working with individuals and groups in a sustained way to build confidence, change lives and offer real opportunities for progress.
Christopher Graves, the director of Tudor Trust said, “We have had conversations about the inadequacy of their current premises over some years, and were therefore interested to learn that there might be an opportunity to purchase an underused building, so our Trustees have confirmed interest in supporting the Cedarwood Centre in its purchase of the former Meadow Well Avenue Centre.
“We believe that the Cedarwood Trust’s reputation for constructive engagement would allow all stakeholders to feel that they were able to participate in this endeavour. In the current climate of ‘austerity’ and cuts there seems to be an important opportunity here to demonstrate how those who are marginalised in a particular geographical area might be supported in a new and holistic way. The Cedarwood Trust’s pragmatic approach to this could provide the ideal setting for unique partnerships to flourish.”
Chief Executive of the Cedarwood Trust, Phil McGrath said. “In March, North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet will meet to consider whether or not to demolish the building and redevelop the site with affordable homes for rent or to sell the building to us, taking possession and responsibility from 1st April, with a sale fully completed by the end of July.
“Now that we have the grant money, a lot of expertise from our Trustees and a number of interested community users whose rent will help us to make the Avenues a successful community asset we are very optimistic.
“Bruce Pickard, the Deputy Mayor has told our Trustees and our local Councillors, that providing The Cedarwood Trust is able to demonstrate community support, there is no reason we would not be able to acquire the Centre. The primary interest of the Council is in the availability of funding and we’ve got that now”