Children play in the open plan frontage of Ripley Avenue, North Meadowell estate, North Shields. The housing is pre-war council type which has recently undergone full modernisation and had the gardens removed to provide extra space. Photograph by Ken Grint. N. Tyneside CDP IIU set 1976.

Children play in the open plan frontage of Ripley Avenue, North Meadow Well estate, North Shields. The housing is pre-war council type which has recently undergone full modernisation and had the gardens removed to provide extra space. Photograph by Ken Grint. N. Tyneside CDP IIU set 1976.

The Imagine North East project is based in Benwell in Newcastle and North Shields. It is part of a larger programme of research looking at the ways people and groups imagine the past, present and future of their communities and work for positive change. You can find out more about the North East project here, our partner project based in Coventry here and the National Imagine project here.

A team from Durham University is working with community organisations in Benwell and North Shields. These areas were sites of the first area-based anti-poverty projects (Community Development Projects, CDPs) in the 1970s and multiple regeneration interventions subsequently. Despite numerous community development and regeneration initiatives, these areas still experience relatively high levels of disadvantage and stigmatization. In attempting to answer our research questions we are seeking the perspectives of past and present local residents, community activists, community workers, politicians and policy makers and other people with an interest in Benwell and North Shields.

Adelaide House, Benwell. Single block of flats, standing behind shopping centre. Quite popular. Newcastle CDP 1976. Adelaide House, Benwell. Derek Smith.  IIU

Adelaide House, Benwell. Single block of flats, standing behind shopping centre. Photograph by Derek Smith. Newcastle CDP IIU set 1976

These insights may give us an understanding of the past as shaped by community action and policy direction and the kinds of tensions and agreements that existed and currently prevail between different parties.

Our research will involve looking at documents relating to public policy and investment, but it will also involve looking at charitable and voluntary sector activity over those years, the role of the private sector and, importantly, the informal community sector, including community action.

This website, and the blog posts attached, will be part of the attempt to document the project and enable community partners and interested individuals to collaborate with us to create new histories and futures for Benwell and North Shields by and for the people who live and have lived in these communities. Please have a look around, leave a comment, get in touch and let us know what you think.

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