YMCA North Tyneside awarded £425,014 by Big Lottery Fund

YMCA North Tyneside, based in North Shields, has recently been awarded £425,014 by Big Lottery Fund from their Reaching Communities grant programme, to redesign and modernise their existing building on Church Way in North Shields.

Founded in 1879, YMCA North Tyneside was originally known as The Borough of Tynemouth YMCA, but as popularity grew new premises were needed and after several moves YMCA moved into their purpose built building on Church Way in North Shields in 1938. At that time the building was called “James Knott Youth Centre”: named after Sir James Knott, a highly successful local businessman and philanthropist who contributed the vision and funds for the completion of the premises. YMCA has operated out of this building on Church Way ever since.

hi_big_e_lrg_pink80 years on from the the opening of YMCA’s building on Church Way, Big Lottery Fund has made a significant contribution to the fundraising efforts of YMCA with a £425,014 grant. This has enabled YMCA North Tyneside to complete the evolution of the building into a modern community hub, offering integrated support and advice services, education, training and a range of leisure and sporting activities under one roof.

The building has undergone substantial alterations, with a major upgrade to the gym facilities for the 1,000 member YMCA Gym. As well as the redevelopment of kitchen facilities to provide a training kitchen to service a new cafe, the redevelopment of community spaces to better accommodate activities such as adult learning and educational courses. YMCA’s renewed vision centres upon 3 key areas: creating opportunities for young people, increasing wellbeing and reducing social isolation.

Opportunities for young people:

The improved facilities will help YMCA create more options for alternative education provision, reaching out to more young people who are not succeeding in mainstream education. YMCA will also be able help deliver independent living skills and provide training to ensure young people will be better equipped to transition into independent living. This will include offering more young people skills and qualifications leading to education, employment and training.

Increasing wellbeing:

access to community education options will help local people improve their skill levels, building a more resilient and able community who are less dependent on crisis support and helping tackle poor health choices which will increase health and longevity by reducing obesity related illness and sedentary lifestyles. The newly refurbished YMCA Gym is key to this, as are tenants within YMCA’s building: North Tyneside Carers, Tyneside & Northumberland Mind, and North Tyneside Council’s Adult Learning Alliance.

Reducing social isolation:

The newly renovated building offers a community hub where all members of the community are welcome and everyone is able to succeed. A place to meet and make friends, a place where people can be free of the isolation that they may otherwise feel.

With the redevelopment nearing completion, YMCA is excited about the future:

Dean Titterton, CEO at YMCA North Tyneside:

“This Reaching Communities grant from Big Lottery Fund has been a cornerstone to the redevelopment of our Church Way building. We now look to a future where YMCA has both the desire and the facilities to achieve its’ vision. We strive to play an increasingly larger part in the lives of local people through the provision of training, education, accommodation, support services, gym and leisure facilities.”

Steve Pugh, Head of Operations at YMCA North Tyneside:

“Our building is such an important landmark in North Shields and such an important hub for the local community. It’s amazing to see it being brought up to modern day standards and now the transformation of the building is almost complete, the grand opening can’t come soon enough”.

YMCA intends to formally acknowledge the completion of the redevelopment project with a grand opening event in June 2016. However YMCA Gym and many of the facilities are already open.

Some images of the newly refurbished Gym:

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