Open Doors was a project of the Ouseburn Trust which ran from 2012 to 2016. It worked with community buildings across Newcastle upon Tyne supporting management committees and volunteers to run successful, safe and sustainable centres for local communities. 

The project was first established in 2011 by a network of community organisations in the East End of Newcastle and it continued to work in partnership to deliver a range of activities.  The aim was to empower local people to take control and manage their own resources and to maximise opportunities for groups and individuals to increase levels of personal involvement and engagement in their own community.

Initially it offered training and charter mark accreditation for Community Centre Management Committees - to ensure they are welcoming, well-managed, safe and inclusive.

They also worked with Community Centres on Community Mapping to find out who uses their facilities, who lives and works nearby and what role the Centre could take.

Half way through the second year the reductions in local government budgets resulted community asset transfer becoming a high priority for the Council. From 2013-2015 Open Doors led a consortium to provide support to Management Committees in preparation for Asset Transfer of their buildings.

Over the period of the Open Doors Project 2012 to 2016 it has

  • Delivered 55 workshops, training events and networking opportunities
  • Worked with 43 buildings
  • Delivered 11 different programmes and activities, including
    • Development of quality assurance standards for community buildings
    • Training related to safe, welcoming, inclusive and well managed community buildings
    • Consultation events
    • Confidence building activities including STEPS and volunteer training
    • Development of the Community Mapping Toolkit and pilot with 7 centres
    • Digital Story Telling Project
    • Training in Health and Safety delivered by Newcastle College
    • Involvement in the GAIA project and the COMA (Community Ownership and Management of Assets) local programme
    • Programme of asset transfer support
  • Worked with 12 different delivery partners
  • In the last two years delivered 8 newsletters to over 65 recipients
  • In the last two years at least 200 people have benefited from the Open Doors activities

The Open Doors Project has now come to an end and the resources and tools that were developed by the project are available here your use.  The content may become out of date, however it will continue to provide useful checklists and ideas about the management of community buildings.

Towards the end of the project the Open Doors team worked with Curiosity Creative to promote the concept of digital story telling as a community development tool.  Three groups across two centres engaged in the workshops along with one group of workers from across the sector.  The 20 stories reflect the rich diversity of experiences and the importance of shared assets within the community - you can see them here

Over the four years the project has been funded by Newcastle Fund (Rounds 2 and 4); a contract with Newcastle City Council; Awards for All; NDLC and the Community Foundation.  The contract for the Community Asset Transfer Support which lasted for 2 years in total helped to extend the reach and impact of the project.