The Ouseburn Trust works closely with, and supports the objectives of Ouseburn Futures, which is a separate organisation with its own aims, members, funding and structures.  Sheila Spencer, Chair of Ouseburn Futures Planning & Development Group and a Trustee for Ouseburn Trust explains the work of Ouseburn Futures and its relationship with the Trust:

Ouseburn Futures is a community group formed by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to see the aims and objectives contained in the recently approved Ouseburn Regeneration Plan implemented using community empowerment principles. Members felt that following the closure of Newcastle City Council’s Regeneration team office in the Ouseburn Valley, it could take a more active role. In March 2013, Sue Bright, Chair of Ouseburn Futures, signed an agreement with Newcastle City Council to give Ouseburn Futures the responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the Ouseburn Regeneration Plan.

Ouseburn Futures has a number of Theme Groups and representatives from each of the different subgroups form an over-arching Co-ordinating Group, together with others such as local councillors, and two residents or businesses from each of Byker and Ouseburn wards. Ouseburn Futures Co-ordinating Group meets on a quarterly basis with the City Council to discuss progress with the Regeneration Plan and other matters.

The role of the Ouseburn Futures Co-ordinating Group is to:

  • Support the theme groups, help them to coordinate and provide strategic direction
  • Manage the budget to be handed over to Ouseburn Futures by the Council for key elements of the ORIAP, and look for other investment
  • To develop and maintain relationships with outside bodies including the City Council

The Trust is represented on the Co-ordinating Group by the Trust’s Chief Officer, Chair, and another member of the Trust Board.

The Theme Groups are formed from Ouseburn businesses, organisations and individuals, to take the regeneration of the area forward, to solve key issues, support each other and present a united front to outside bodies including the local council.

The Theme Groups currently are:

  • Arts & Creative Industries
  • Business
  • Developers’ Forum
  • Environment
  • Planning & Development
  • River Users’ Group
  • Valley Events

Arts and Creative Industries group

There are over 150 studios in the Ouseburn.  Ouseburn Futures seeks more representation from this group. Contact: Martin Ellis

Business and Economy group

Ouseburn is a key employment and business area in Newcastle.  Alongside established businesses, the creative cluster in Newcastle has emerged here with the area now home to over 400 businesses.  How can these businesses grow? How can Ouseburn get economic development resources?  Contacts: Sue Bright, Cllr Nick Kemp, Tim Bailey

Developers’ Forum

Brings together all developers, owners, associated professionals and other interested parties that operate in Ouseburn. It meets on an irregular basis to share information, opportunities and common problems. Contact: Dale Bolland

Environment group

Is making sure Ouseburn looks good and is safe – looking at maintenance issues, green spaces, traffic, the rivers. There’s a small group gathering information on current issues. First open meeting during September. Contact: Paul Snedker

Planning and Development group

Is influencing the physical development of Ouseburn, design, planning, transport.  This group is updating planning and design documents that determine planning application decisions and organising local input to development proposals. Contact: Sheila Spencer

River Users’ group

This brings together different groups with an interest in the river. Contact: Dave Cross

Valley Events group

Ouseburn family visitor attractions began by jointly organising during the summer including cross marketing using ‘A’ boards outside venues advertising what’s on at other venues and carrying out visitor surveys.  The group is expanding to cover music, art, heritage and key Ouseburn events calendar. Contact: Rachel Brown

New members are welcome for all these groups – you can find out more at: www.ouseburnfutures.org.uk  or e-mail talk@ouseburn.net

How do Ouseburn Trust and Ouseburn Futures work together?

The Trust, as the established community organisation in the Valley, has helped to set up the Ouseburn Futures group as the body which is now

  • overseeing the implementation of the Ouseburn Regeneration Plan, and
  • taking over the task of engaging residents, people working in the Valley, people coming to learn in the Valley, and visitors and Valley enthusiasts in influencing what happens here

Importantly, it supports Ouseburn Futures’ work by providing meeting space, looking after the small amount of money that Ouseburn Futures has, and being active in all the Theme Groups and the Co-ordinating Group. We expect to continue to work closely together for the foreseeable future.