In July 2018 three charities: The Cedarwood Trust, Meadow Well Connected and Phoenix Detached Youth Project, who support the communities of Meadow Well, Riverside and Chirton, held a community meeting. Of the many things talked about was a request from the residents that we should work more closely together in both supporting and promoting what we each contribute to the community.

The three charities agreed to  share knowledge and experience gathered over many years to improve the services they offer, to ensure that all residents are aware of the facilities and services available to them and work together to help shape future provision. In addition The Cedarwood Trust and Meadow Well Connected agreed to form a “Better Together Alliance”.

“We look forward to working much more closely together to continue to promote the wellbeing of residents, and help develop a thriving community that’s a great place to live work and play.” said Brendan Austin, Chair of Meadow Well Connected.

Between them, The Cedarwood Trust and Meadow Well Connected support residents of all ages within a population of over 23,000 comprising the Chirton and Riverside Wards of North Tyneside. They operate from two welcoming community centres and provide the following services:

  • Pre-and post-birth groups, and nursery provision from 2 years.
  • For children and young people they provide an after school club and holiday activities, a peer-led learning hub in partnership with Success4All, support for students with additional needs and pupils at risk of or excluded from mainstream education who can accessing support through practical skills to re-engage with mainstream education.
  • Adult support includes teaching digital skills within a free to use, supported walk-in computer suite plus intensive support for people with multiple barriers to work. Crisis support and signposting to other services through their partnership network. There are Wellbeing initiatives and support for treatment resistant drinkers and those who live with them.
  • An elders program catering for the various needs of people from the age of 50 into their nineties, many of whom are isolated and experience loneliness.

Much of the work is supported by numerous volunteers, and this is sometimes a valuable pathway back into work, or to enjoying a fulfilling time when work has finished. Volunteering has known health benefits, too

“Both centres offer food and refreshments, and a welcoming space for people to get to know one another, both through working together, or sometimes just having a chat.” said Roger Gordon, Chair of Cedarwood Trust.

The Better Together Alliance will aim to provide seamless community provision that not only brings Meadow Well Connected and The Cedarwood Trust charities together as one alliance, but also brings about the development space for members of the community to better engage together on improving life for all in their neighbourhoods.