A new £100,000 community benefits project has been launched to support residents and community groups in Newcastle.
The programme is aimed at enhancing lives, building aspirations and generally meeting the needs of people living in the Newcastle area. There is a focus on those living in the West End of Newcastle, but the programme will consider applications which will impact on other parts of Newcastle and the North East.
The project has been set up by Home Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations, in partnership with real estate developers Ask, and construction company BAM.
Home Group, which has been based in the North-East for over 85 years, is currently building its new head office, One Strawberry Lane, next to St James Park. It’s being developed and built by Ask and BAM.
The community benefits project, which will run during the construction of One Strawberry Lane, is part of Home Group’s wider plan to support the city’s voluntary and community sector for the long term. Areas of the new head office will act as a physical support hub for the sector.
Mark Henderson, Home Group’s chief executive, said: “Our new head office is about much more than simply delivering a sustainable workspace for our colleagues. It’s going to be a place that can support One Strawberry Lane’s surrounding communities, add value to the city and its businesses, and most importantly our customers. Launching our community benefit project at the start of construction enables us to begin that process immediately.”
Home Group is working with Connected Voice, which supports charities, social enterprises and voluntary community groups across Newcastle and Gateshead, to help tailor One Strawberry Lane’s space, and the expertise within, to support community and voluntary groups. When complete in autumn 2022, that space will allow for greater enablement, collaboration and innovation in the community and voluntary sector.
In the meanwhile, Home Group is keen to start that support now, during construction. The social enterprise is currently calling for applications for the new community benefits project. They are asking for proposals that would benefit the lives of those in their community.
Projects could include developing community gardens, renovation or updating works on internal spaces, or the creation of new internal or external spaces. Submissions are not restricted to the examples above. All will be considered and scored using a specific set of criteria.
As well as making financial contributions to the project, the partners will also provide training, work experience, labour and a wealth of knowledge to support the wider community.
Phase one of the application process is open until the end of June, but will be followed by further application phases.