Four North East community projects at risk of closure receive £1.4m levelling up funding

Four community projects in the North East, which were at risk of closure, have received nearly £1.4 million between them in levelling up funding.

It is part of a wider announcement by the government to invest £33.5 million to save more than 80 projects across the country.

Projects receiving funding in the North East include:

  • Save Our Samson receives £215,839: to secure the future of The Samson Inn, a friendly village pub on the World Heritage Site of Hadrian's Wall.

  • Birtley Swimming Centre receives £272,382: to reopen the facility for the local community.

  • Scotswood Garden Community Hub receives £467,260: to renovate the garden and create a new eco extension.

  • Foundation For Good's Vision for Lasting Impact receives £420,000: which will transform the historically important Consett Steelworks HQ into a thriving community hub.

Foundation for Good boxing club Credit: ITV News

The Foundation for Good runs a boxing club in Consett, County Durham, which has 1,400 boxers on its books, alongside a food bank that supports around 1,400 people each week.

Fraser Neill, CEO of the charity, told ITV News Tyne Tees they will use the £420,000 granted to the club to further enhance the community hub.

He said: "We’re going to open up a full community cafe, with the alternative provision that we do, we’re going to get the students that we work with to do food technology lessons. We’re also opening up a food innovation suite and woodwork shop."

Birtley Swimming Pool, which closed in 2023 and is currently boarded up and behind a security fence, now has a chance of reopening, thanks to a £272,382 boost to its fundraising campaign.

Birtley Swimming Pool Credit: ITV News

Matthew Grant, from the Birtley Community Aquatic Centre, told ITV News: "We’ve had so many people who’ve supported our project, our fundraising campaign, who are so keen to get the pool reopened, they were so disappointed when it closed, they see it as so beneficial for so many reasons, so I think it’ll be massive for the community."

Levelling Up Minister, Jacob Young, said:  "We know how much these vital community assets mean to people across the country. They are an important lifeline for people young and old, and they’re the beating heart of our towns, cities and villages.

"That’s why we’re stepping in to protect them with a major rescue package, so we stop these great establishments closing or being lost forever and ensure that they continue to sit at the heart of our beloved communities."