Thanks to significant investment from North Tyneside Council and North of Tyne Combined Authority, the new Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector hub called the ‘Spirit of North Tyneside’ will be located on the top floor at the Wallsend Customer First Centre.
VODA will manage the site and provide advice and administrative services to voluntary organisations. The hub will provide a focal point for the development of new social action activities, strengthen local partnerships and networks, build staff and volunteer capacity and strengthen governance and leadership across the sector.
There will be space for small and micro-organisations which offer support to some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents, co-working opportunities, virtual conferencing and training facilities and creative break-out areas.
VODA’s Sector Connector project will also be based there, helping to draw in additional pro-bono support from businesses including master classes, mentoring and maximising volunteering opportunities.
The North of Tyne Combined Authority has awarded £250,000 for the development of the new hub on the top floor, with a further £50,000 to support its development over the first couple of years.
A funding pot of £200,000 has also been shared by community and voluntary sector organisations across North Tyneside to diversify and adapt their offer while also helping to expand their income streams to become more sustainable.
Robin Fry, Chief Executive, VODA and North of Tyne Combined Authority Mayoral Ambassador for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector, said: “Our ambition is to create a dynamic Community Hub that becomes the centre of excellence for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector (VCSE) organisations across the borough.
“We know how vital a strong VCSE sector is to the health and happiness of people living in North Tyneside. The Hub will offer a range of affordable ‘back-office’ services such as payroll, accountancy, printing and HR advice.
“These services, alongside the offer of co-working space, will reduce running costs for VCSE sector organisations, enabling more investment in the delivery of services that benefit residents.”
The Wallsend Customer First Centre already hosts a range of services, including a library, customer services, Care and Connect, Citizens Advice Bureau and an NHS recovery partnership team, while the Wallsend Neighbourhood Policing Team have also recently moved in.
Northumbria Police Neighbourhood Inspector Thomas Hart said: “We are excited to be working in close proximity with our partners the NHS, Citizens Advice and North Tyneside Council. This close access will allow us to work together seamlessly to help make Wallsend a safe and happy place to call home.”
Pictures show an artist impression of the Hub reception and also a recent visit by VODA staff, trustees and North Tyneside Council to visit the work in progress.