Campaign to save centre gets a funding boost

The Avenue centre, Avon Avenue, North Shields
The Avenue centre, Avon Avenue, North Shields

A campaign to save a building earmarked for demolition has taken a big step forward.

Meadow Well Estate’s community development charity, The Cedarwood Trust, is hoping to take over The Avenue Centre.

The large building is currently standing empty and has been earmarked for demolition.

But the Trust is hoping to secure a deal with the local authority to take it over and provide much-needed community facilities.

And it has received support from The Tudor Trust, which has provided grants totalling £280,000 since 1985.

Christopher Graves, the director of Tudor Trust, said: “We have had conversations about the inadequacy of their current premises over some years, and were therefore interested to learn that there might be an opportunity to purchase an underused building.

“Our Trustees have confirmed interest in supporting the Cedarwood Centre in its purchase of the former Meadow Well Avenue Centre.

“We believe that the Cedarwood Trust’s reputation for constructive engagement would allow all stakeholders to feel that they were able to participate in this endeavour.

“In the current climate of ‘austerity’ and cuts there seems to be an important opportunity here to demonstrate how those who are marginalised in a particular geographical area might be supported in a new and holistic way.

“The Cedarwood Trust’s pragmatic approach to this could provide the ideal setting for unique partnerships to flourish.”

Phil McGrath, chief executive of the Cedarwood Trust, said: “In March, North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet will meet to consider whether or not to demolish the building and redevelop the site with affordable homes for rent or to sell the building to us.

“Now that we have the grant money, a lot of expertise from our Trustees and a number of interested community users whose rent will help us to make the Avenues a successful community asset we are very optimistic.

“Our Trustees have been told that providing The Cedarwood Trust is able to demonstrate community support, there is no reason we would not be able to acquire the Centre. The primary interest of the Council is in the availability of funding and we’ve got that now.”

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: “We can confirm we have received a request from The Cedarwood Trust to purchase The Meadow Well Centre – a council-owned building on Avon Avenue – and this will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on March 14.”