Vulnerable Newcastle residents have benefited from improved access to a free lunch club after improvements were made by Your Homes Newcastle and Brambledown Landscapes.
Broadmead Way Lunch Club, which is ran by volunteers at Broadmead Way Community Church, has been providing free lunches on a Monday for 18 months.
Offering a menu of soups and salads to local residents, the lunch club is seen as a vital community resource for lots of people, including many with mobility issues.
However, the car park had fallen into disrepair, and it became more difficult for residents who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters to safely access the service.
The £11,000 improvement works at the church car park, undertaken with Brambledown Landscapes, included resurfacing the whole car park and installing handrails to make the lunch club more accessible for all residents.
The work began back in March but had to be paused due to the national lockdown.
While the lunch club is still on hold due to COVID-19, the easing of restrictions over the summer months meant Brambledown could get back to work and complete the project.
YHN says the facilities are ready to go as soon as the club is able to reopen
‘Make living easier’
Ray Tolley, a volunteer who runs the lunch club, said: “We were surprised and amazed at the job, and they have gone above and beyond our expectations.
“It’s an absolute relief because now those who use mobility scooters and wheelchairs can arrive safely and have a smooth ride instead of a rocky ride.”
YHN regularly works with community organisations in the areas it manages homes to ensure local facilities benefit as many residents as possible.
Ian Gallagher, YHN’s acting Assets and Development director, said: “We are very passionate about improving the lives of residents living within our communities, and seek to provide far more than safe and secure housing.
“Our purpose is to make living easier for our customers, and having such good relationships with our contractors means that we are in a position to go above and beyond to support many local initiatives.
“We also have our own funding streams and local community groups are encouraged to apply to us for grants for particular projects.”
Brambledown Landscapes was already doing work for YHN, and its work in the Walker area, which has now almost finished, has seen new paving and improved driveways and parking options added to the YHN-managed properties.
All of YHN’s partnerships with contractors include an element of additional support for local communities.
Neil Blakelock, contract manager at Brambledown Landscapes, said: “We have completed countless successful projects of all values over a 40+ year association with Newcastle City Council, and YHN and this project was testament to that partnership.
“The works at Broadmead were quite technically challenging, but we achieved the objective together and delivered an excellent quality finished product that was incredibly well received by all.
“I personally witnessed some of the praise and positive comments given to our site staff from local residents and centre users and actually found it quite touching.
“We were very proud to be part of such a well-received and deserved scheme.”
About Your Homes Newcastle
Your Homes Newcastle is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) set up by Newcastle City Council in 2004 to manage and improve council homes and related housing services in Newcastle upon Tyne.
YHN now manages 26,000 City Council properties and around 700 Leazes Homes properties.
Image: Neil Blakelock, contracts manager, Brambledown Landscapes; Cecil, volunteer and resident of Scotswood; Ray Tolley, volunteer who runs the lunch club
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