Horden Hub House, an end of terrace property that we converted into a community resource has been used to provide residents with a space to meet and access advice and services.
Made possible thanks to a strategic partnership with East Durham Trust, the Hub House has become a resource for local people and allows them to come together to tackle many of the challenges that are prevalent within the community.
With reports showing that only 28 percent of people are in full-time employment compared to 39 percent across England; 46 per cent have no skills or qualifications compared with 22 percent across England and 37 per cent have long term health issues compared to 18 percent across England*, it was evident that something had to be done to address the needs of the residents.
As one of the top 3 percent most deprived communities in the country, here at The Coalfields Regeneration Trust we identified the area as a priority for action and just one of five towns in the country that would become part of our Communities that Work Programme.
A consultation process between the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Local MP, Grahame Morris; East Durham Trust and Durham University revealed that a community hub, which would provide a space for agencies, groups and residents to use for meetings and activities would deliver the most immediate impact.
Furthermore, it was suggested that a dedicated Community Engagement Coordinator would facilitate signposting and activities to focus on improving the employment, skills and health and wellbeing of those living in the former coalfield.
The objectives agreed were to:
- Improve the physical environment by turning a vandalised void property into a modernised community asset.
- Provide a space for residents, community groups and local agencies to meet.
- Create a community engagement resource for a two-year period to build relationships with resident, community groups, local agencies and service providers.
- Identify local priorities and issues and develop activities that respond to these.
- Further strengthen relationships between the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the community through effective partnership work.
Working with a property owner, Accent, we negotiated the asset transfer of an end of terrace, derelict building before investing £30,000 into a complete refurbishment.
An ongoing partnership with the East Durham Trust, the flagship voluntary and community sector organisation, also meant that we could agree the appointment of a Community Engagement Coordinator for two-years, which was subsequently extended as a result of the positive impact this has had.
Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Andy Lock comments: “There were many underlying social and economic issues associated with Horden but it was clear from the outset that the community wanted to do something about it.
“It’s easy to turn your back on people who are living in deprived areas, but with some resource and support it can make all of the difference. We hope that through our partnership work, and in particular thanks to the support of EDT and MP, Grahame Morris, we can meet with the aspirations of local residents.”
Chief executive of East Durham Trust, Malcolm Fallow comments: “Having a clear plan that has been developed alongside the community means that we can meet with the local needs of the community. It’s no good us presuming to know what is required. Whilst we are well aware of the fantastic work already taking place in the community we all agreed that more can be done.”
“We know that a dedicated Community Engagement Coordinator will ensure that group activities and events are scheduled and facilitated, which in turn encourages involvement from local people. This project is certainly one that we are very proud to be a part of.”
MP, Grahame Morris comments: “We are very aware of the need to improve the future outlook for people living in Horden. The community spirit is alive and well and we know that with some encouragement we can all work together to make a change. This facility is exactly what is needed and I look forward to hearing about the positive impact that it has made in the weeks and months to come.”