Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

Celebrations All Round at Blakelaw

4th Apr 2016

Celebrations All Round at Blakelaw

Blakelaw Community Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne welcomed a host of special visitors recently as it celebrated the official launch of a pre-school for neighbouring school, Hilton Primary Academy and the re-opening of its library.

Operated by Blakelaw Community Partnership, which was established in 2013, the centre aims to build and support strong and sustainable services and social enterprises within the Blakelaw community.

Keen to extend its current provision to accommodate younger children, Mrs Shirley Davison, headteacher from Hilton Primary Academy, which is sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, joined forces with Blakelaw Community Partnership as it began plans to rescue the existing centre, which was under threat of closure.

The centre is now a popular, central hub within the community providing a range of services including a cafe, library, IT facilities, leisure space and a Post Office as well as the new nursery.

Speaking about the well-equipped, modern facilities that can accommodate up to 16 two-year olds in its secure suite of rooms with indoor and outdoor play areas, Mrs Davison said:

?For Hilton Academy, the pre-school provides the opportunity to give very young children their first experience in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children. They can begin the foundation for learning that will bring crucial advantages as they progress through primary school and beyond.?

Famous local author, David Almond joined the celebrations by holding a workshop for a group of Hilton Primary Academy pupils. He then cut a paper chain featuring the children?s favourite quotes from his famous book, Skellig, to mark the reopening of the library facilities.

Just around the corner, Les Walton, chair of Northern Education Trust and Councillor David Stockdale, were ably assisted by Jannat Almhoje, aged two as they officially opened the pre-school.

Les Walton explained the importance of community participation for schools, saying:

?As a Trust we believe that our academies are a vital part of the community. We therefore have a responsibility to encourage and support collaboration and active participation in all kinds of community initiatives. And also, in turn, to welcome the community into our schools.

?Centres such as this are a great example of how lives can be enhanced and enriched by the sharing of resources and having a united vision to create a strong and caring local community.?

Councillor David Stockdale added:

?It has been wonderful to welcome our guests young and old to this fantastic centre and to mark the beginning of a successful and sustainable future. We are providing the right mix of facilities that will encourage all members of the community to use and enjoy the centre.

?The relationship with Hilton Primary Academy has been instrumental to our model of developing close community partnerships. Mrs Davison?s contribution has been invaluable in not only providing the expertise to develop the Year 2 Pre School facility but also in ensuring that we delivered the range of facilities within the centre that the community so badly needed.?