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Annual Report 2019

 

From our annual general meeting November 27th 2019

What is Big Local Gateshead?

Big Local Gateshead is a community development project run by local people to improve the area over a 13 year period. We started out with access to over £1m in 2012 and are currently working on a 3 year plan taking us up to 2022. Over the course of our last plan (2016-2019) we have recruited staff and volunteers, funded dozens of new projects, and given out many grants to people and organisations in the area.

Based in the community

From October 2017 we’ve been based in the former care-takers bungalow next to St. Aidan’s primary school in Teams, this has given us the opportunity to host new clubs and community groups and boosted our involvement with local people dramatically.

What did local people say they wanted?

For our new plan we spent time consulting with local people to find out what they think should be done and where money should be focused. Most people felt that older people and children should be our priority, they felt that the environment should be improved, and 73% of respondents said there was a need for more social housing.

How did we respond to this?

We built our new plan for the next 3 years around this feedback, our Older People, Young People, and Health and Environment sub groups will be given additional funding to support more projects. In addition we have set aside a portion of our £1m to focus on a community-led housing project in the area, and we will establish a new resident steering group to ensure involvement from local people. To help support these groups and expand Big Local Gateshead we have included a budget in our new plan to employ 2 additional members of staff – a community development worker and participatory artist.

Community projects 2018 – 2019:

Health and environment

Our community allotment has hosted much of the inter-generational work carried out by Suzanne Amey and has become more self-sustaining over the last year since it’s establishment in 2018. The space is also now home to an afterschool gardening club that meets once a week afterschool outside of winter months. A new cycling club started at the end of last year has gone from strength-to-strength, attracting many new riders and cycling more than 400 together so far. We used Gateshead Go Active cards as a reward for volunteers in the area or those referred to us by Teams medical practice, funding 10 cards in the last year. Last year we said we would focus on relieving food poverty in the area, to accomplish this a weekly pop-up shop now runs from the bungalow with food donated by Marks & Spencer. This has been very successful and has raised more than £800 so far to be spent on families in the area.

Young people

Outside of the inter-generational work done with schools in the area we match funded a stage school for young people ran by Side-By-Side arts at The Soundroom. During the summer this year we established a new programme of activities for local children and families during school holidays, led by Christine Frazer and ran alongside the pop-up shop, this project proved to be very successful and will become a regular part of our yearly calendar.

Older people

At the end of 2018 we funded a range of Christmas crafts across 3 residential care homes and the communal lounge, helping to ensure older and socially isolated people could enjoy the festive season. As part of the Dab Hand arts project we supported the craft club based at the bungalow to take a trip to Harrogate to visit a national patchwork quilting show to inspire their communal quilt they are making for the bungalow and improve their skills.

Arts

This year we funded Dab Hand, a participatory arts project targeting many schools and community groups across the area over 6 months. The project aimed to provide fun and free arts activities, improve confidence, teach new skills, and support each group to make a large art work of their own. This project was one of our biggest spends on new projects this year, but was tailored to benefit a wide range of participants including many young and older people. In addition we supported artists Si Turner and Christine Frazer to produce an artwork celebrating local heritage which has now been installed opposite the staithes.

Quick Wins

Many of our Quick Win applications came in later in the year, and only one was passed by our panel before the end of the current plan. Low community take-up in this fund has been something we have struggled to address over the years, as part of the new plan we intend to overhaul Quick Wins small grants to make them available to more people and more transparent to applicants.

 

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