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Gateshead Community Centre creates green space for local residents

articleindex followcenter modules Array 1 Volunteers at Bensham Grove Community Centre prepare the ground for the new garden

A Gateshead Community Centre was handed a boost with its horticultural ambitions through a grant from the Community Infrastructure Levy Fund (CIL) at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. 

Bensham Grove Community Centre provides adult education opportunities to people in Bensham and the surrounding areas. It received £3,400 to help develop a community garden for the benefit of local residents. 

Chris O’Toole, Centre Manager at Bensham Grove explained about the demand for people to grow their own produce and the benefits of creating green space in Bensham. 

‘We’ve had a lot of feedback that people are really missing open and wild spaces. Spaces where they can grow their own stuff. The opportunity to grow produce helps with food poverty and supports people integrating back into the community’. 

Chris was in no doubt of the impact that the grant would have. 

‘We’re really pleased to have the funding in. The space has been derelict since 2004 and we’ve finally got the opportunity to do something useful with it. It will bring the community together and in a more contemporary way, which reflects people’s understanding and desire to engage with their environment’. 

Nils Stronach, Senior Programme Advisor at the Community Foundation added, ‘CIL supports charitable organisations across Gateshead to develop community spaces, providing much-needed facilities for people to take part in positive activities. 

‘The grant to Bensham Grove Community Centre will help create an accessible green space in an urban area, providing health and wellbeing benefits for the local community and a positive impact on the environment. It’s a great example of how CIL will have a positive impact in Gateshead.’ 

For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit