82 Grimsby Road is the new address for Big Local North Cleethorpes

Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) has been pleased to have been involved supporting Big Local North Cleethorpes since the outset five years ago. VANEL serves as the Locally Trusted Organisation (LTO) for the programme in Cleethorpes, holding the money, providing administrative and development support and working in partnership with this exciting community and voluntary led project.

At around the halfway point of this ten year Lottery funded initiative, we’re excited to have just been involved with an event marking the opening of a new building supported by Big Local North Cleethorpes.

In April 2019, VANEL’s Development Manager Karl Elliott joined representatives from Big Local North Cleethorpes and officers from the Local Trust’s London headquarters for a first look inside a new drop-in centre and community hub.

Based at 82 Grimsby Road, the former accountancy office has already seen its ground floor transformed into a space that will house all sorts of events and activities. Work on the first floor is on-going and when completed the whole building will offer space to community and self-help groups, for talks and demonstrations, or as a general space for residents.

The Big Local team of staff and volunteers can now work from this new premises and it will be the place for local groups and the community to drop-in, have appointments and generally connect much more easily with the programme.

The building has been bought by Big Local North Cleethorpes, which was awarded £1-million of Lottery funding in 2013 as part of a drive to help communities in areas of the UK that were deemed to be socially-deprived.

The volunteer led group awards grant-funding, via an application process, for community projects, from the renovation of the pavilion at Sidney Sussex Park pavilion through to providing defibrillators in public areas. Scores of projects have received funding and support over the past few years. However, with a remit to ensure Big Local has a legacy at the end of its 10-year lifespan, its committee saw the purchase of a ‘community hub’ as a great way to ensure long-term sustainability.

VANEL, as the appointed locally trusted organisation for Big Local, is the official holders of the group’s funds and acts as a supporter, helping to facilitate such projects. Another local partner organisation, Capacity Buildings Ltd formally owns the new building under a trust agreement for Big Local so that it can remain in community ownership.

Karl was delighted to see the new building: “When you see the improvements being made in the heart of Cleethorpes, it is easy to forget that some residents living in the resort, particularly those at the North end, do have challenges with regard to social isolation and in reaching groups that can help them. This will be a perfect base where those people can access the support they need,” he said.

Kevin Sugrue is the London-based chair of the Local Trust Board, which oversees Big Local projects nationally, and was at the new venue’s soft launch.

“This personifies what Big Local is all about. Community spaces are really important for this programme,” said Kevin.

Rosie Chapman, also from London, is the Protector for Big Local – ensuring resources are invested in appropriate ways. She also praised the idea.

“This Hub is important and really very exciting, and impressive. The potential for its future use is enormous and it can only benefit the local community,” added Rosie.

The event was also attended by many members of the Big Local North Cleethorpes committee itself as well as representatives from a number of local projects that have received funding and support from the programme. The building renovation itself is testimony to the value of these community projects. Although funding for the project has been provided by Local Trust (and ultimately the Big Lottery), there has been a huge amount of personal time invested by the voluntary members of the committee, with one volunteer in particular investing over 700 hours of his time in hands-on project management of the work and getting his hands dirty. Thanks Alan. Thanks too to everyone who’s made it happen.

The space will now start to come into its own and there will be exciting developments over the coming weeks and months.

From 1st May there will be staff and volunteers from Big Local and VANEL using 82 Grimsby Road during the week, so there will be plenty of opportunities to access support and services from there. Keep an eye out for more details of opening hours and support offered.

Big Local North Cleethorpes also holds informal weekly community meetings (Wednesday mornings, 9.30am-12noon) and these have been held at Poplar Road Community Fire Station over the past couple of years. These meetings will now take place at the new 82 Grimsby Road office. Please feel free to come along, but there can be a lot going on at these meetings so it’s helpful to know if you are coming if you need to discuss something in particular. Get in touch with John Mooney to discuss (john@vanel.org.uk).

Don’t forget to check out the website at www.biglocalnorthcleethorpes.org.uk which will also be undergoing a refresh before the Summer. And BLNC is coming back onto Twitter too, so you can follow us at @BLNCleethorpes.

We’ve now got a new contact phone number too – it’s a mobile with answering service and you can get us via 07523 772516.

The new Big Local office at 82 Grimsby Road
Darren (Big Local Chair) meets visitors from the Local Trust
Attendees at the launch of 82 Grimsby Road