Would be west end walkers are dusting off their hiking boots in preparation for a series of post lock down history trails.
As social distancing rules are finally fully relaxed, after more than 16 months, a group of volunteers are planning to invite local residents to enjoy a series of history trails around Scotswood – devised during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The trails take in some of the area’s most iconic historical sites, such as the Montagu pit disaster memorial. They were posted online, with photographs, during lockdown, for those who were unable to get out and about to enjoy.
But now, the aim is to get as many longstanding and new Scotswood residents as possible to meet, socialise and having fun, as they learn about the local area.
The initiative is part of a Healthworks Newcastle initiative about eating well, moving more and living longer, funded by the developer of The Rise housing project – New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) which has pledged £10,000 to the cause.
Kath English, Director of Health Promotion with Healthworks Newcastle, said: “Thanks to the support we have had from NTWDC we were able to continue our work right through the pandemic – although in very different, socially distanced ways.
“These trails were devised during that period, so it is fantastic to now be able to invite the whole community to come along and enjoy the sense of community and history that Scotwsood has to offer. We would encourage people to try these trails with their families and friends, from their doorsteps, and enjoy their historic and beautiful surroundings.”
Lee McGray, Director with NTWDC, added: “Supporting local work like this, which encourages community cohesion and opportunities for new and existing residents to get together is a key aim of our project. Hopefully these trails will just be the start of a range of activities planned for the coming year that will help forge links and friendships on and beyond The Rise.”
NTWDC is a partnership between Newcastle City Council and regeneration and construction specialist, Keepmoat Homes. Since it began developing the 27 hectare site on the banks of the River Tyne at Scotswood, almost 400 homes have been completed – 332 for private sale and the remainder for affordable rent and shared ownership.
Construction is being stepped up to deliver 100 homes a year over the next five years and when completed, The Rise will comprise around 1,800 homes with its own district heating system – already in place – and a neighbourhood centre, including community, retail and health provision space.
Alongside this, local community and charity groups – such as Healthworks – will continue to benefit from up to £75,000 each year from a fund set up to support educational, art and environmental initiatives, celebrating the area’s history.
Access to employment, schools and non development apprenticeships projects will also be backed, whilst on site, most of the investment made will be spent with local suppliers and contractors, supporting further training opportunities, apprenticeships and job creation.
Initiatives such as the history trails helped Healthworks to win prestigious national recognition. It was one of just 10 charities, from more than 350 across the UK, to win a GSK IMPACT 2021 Award. These recognise the work of small and medium sized charities in improving health and wellbeing in communities across the country.
For more information, visit www.healthworksnewcastle.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Trail-draft-3-compressed.pdf
During the group’s research of the area information was gathered from the following sources:
- St James’ Heritage and Environment Group – Local History Series St James’ Heritage & Environment Group | Promoting, celebrating and sharing Benwell and Scotswood heritage (stjamesheritage.com)
- Local residents’ photos and memories from Old Scotswood Facebook Group (20+) Old Scotswood | Facebook
- Friends of Hodgkin Park and local residents
*Picture caption (L/R): Julie Stephens (right), Senior Manager, Health Promotion, with Healthworks with (L/R) Kelly Jeasons, Lynne Melbourne, Lisa Conroy, Debbie Quinn, Tracy Jackson and Max Stephens.