June 3, 2021

New city centre head office brings much wider benefit

A new £100,000 community benefits scheme has been launched to support residents and community groups in Newcastle.

The scheme’s aim is to enhance lives, build aspirations and meet the needs of people living in the west end of the city. Residents, community and voluntary groups can apply for support for their projects, allowing them to access a range of skills and services, including training, work experience, labour and cash contributions.

Typical projects could include the development of new community gardens, renovating or updating existing facilities or the creation of new internal or external spaces. Submissions are not restricted to the examples above and all will be considered and scored using a specific set of criteria.

The scheme has been set up by north-east based housing association Home Group, in partnership with real estate developers Ask Real Estate, and BAM Construction.

Home Group, which has been based in the region for over 85 years, will move into its new head office, One Strawberry Lane, near St James Park next autumn. It has been developed by Ask and is being built by BAM.

The community benefits scheme, 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 support 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 and is currently calling for applications for the scheme. Phase one of the application process is open until the end of June and will be followed by further application phases. To find out more and to submit an application visit: https://www.homegroup.org.uk/communityproject

From day one on site BAM Construction, which is also headquartered in the North East, has undertaken a series of community projects including litter picking, donating over 300 Easter eggs to local groups and has delivered mental health awareness training for community groups and customers with St John’s Ambulance.

Craig Madge, a project manager at BAM said “Our team and supply chain cannot wait to get stuck in and help local residents with their projects. As a business our aim is to enhance people’s lives and the community benefits scheme is a great way for us to support the people of Newcastle.”