Lynemouth Community Trust, a Northumberland based charity, was established in 1999 in response to growing levels of unemployment brought about by the area’s declining pit industry. The Trust’s vision is to improve the local community of Lynemouth and the quality of life for its residents by providing learning and employment opportunities and attracting tourism to the area. The Trust today is an established Learndirect provider, host body for a European Leader Programme, and owner of its successful trading social enterprise, Trust in the North.
While officially incorporated in October of 1999, Lynemouth Community Trust’s journey really began in September 2000 when funding secured from a range of sources including the Northern Rock Foundation, Northumberland County Council, the European Regional Development Fund and Ashington and Bedlington Round Table, the organisation was able to purchase and restore a former Lynemouth hotel and transform it into the Trust’s home, Lynemouth Community Resource Centre. The centre acts as a hub for the village of Lynemouth, housing an information technology suite through which the Trust delivers skills training and providing office and meeting spaces for fellow third sector organisations, enabled by the Trust’s dedicated 15 person strong staff team and volunteer bank of 30.
The Trust offers local residents and individuals from surrounding areas a range of services designed to enhance their skills and employability, and in turn, their involvement in the economic regeneration of the area. The Trust has an ongoing contract with Learndirect to deliver basic skills in Maths, English and IT. Lynemouth Community Trust also has two county-wide contracts through which it provides information and guidance on employability across Northumberland geared at getting people back into work. These contracts generate a steady income for the Trust, contributing to its impressive £400,000 2009 turnover, and have provided many local people with nationally recognised qualifications, putting them on the path to employment.
2008 saw the establishment of Lynemouth Community Trust’s trading arm, Trust in the North, which incorporates two of the organisations successful brands – Beehive Café and Catering and Kenspeckle. The Beehive Café, situated within the Resource Centre, is a popular meeting place for members of the community as well as cyclists, due to its prime location along Northumberland’s Coast and Castle cycle route, and provides a range of affordable meals. The café’s catering arm provides a delicious buffet service, popular with the public and third sectors, for a range of events. Kenspeckle, the Trust’s online confectionary shop, produces a range of locally inspired chocolate and fudge creations. The Kenspeckle brand was created to generate further income for the Trust and has become a popular product at local farmers markets and delicatessens.
The Trust is an active body in several environmental projects in the area, regularly consulting with communities in the Northumberland region over their environmental concerns and suggesting viable actions and volunteer-based projects to improve local areas. The Trust and several volunteers from the area were recently involved in an extensive environmental clean-up of Lynemouth’s shore, an area which in recent years has been abused by illegally dumped waste. The organisation also aims to further protect the regions environment through its role as host body of the European Leader Programme for the Northumberland Coast and Lowlands, whilst also improving rural communities and increasing tourism in the region. The Programme has approved funding for several environmentally and economically beneficial projects including GlassCycle, a business that offers an in-house glass recycling service, and the North Northumberland Tourism Association, which with finance from the Programme produced an essential guide booklet which highlights local areas of beauty for tourists visiting the area.
Lynemouth Community Trust has plans to both involve itself in renewable energy projects in Northumberland and to increase its trading activities over the coming years. The Trust intends to explore how the local community can benefit from a new wind farm being constructed just outside the village by ScottishPower Renewables, focusing on ways in which the wind farm can contribute to the local economy in the future and the possibility of providing an energy supply for the local area in order to make the community environmentally sustainable. Lynemouth Community Trust also hopes to extend its catering activities, and is currently looking into scaling up the manufacturing of local food products which will provide further income, and create more employment opportunities for residents, advancing the Trust’s core aim of the regeneration of Lynemouth.