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Moving heaven and earth for local community

14 May 2012

By Oli Sian Davis, Policy & Learning Adviser


If I’d have asked a thousand people to paint me a picture of a Reaching Communities buildings project, I doubt anyone would have portrayed anything quite like the Going Underground project at Bardon Mill in Northumberland.

This earth-sheltered village hall is considered by the project to be the first of its kind in the UK. It is partially underground and will offer valuable community services on the site of a former Bardon Mill Colliery which closed in 1973. Those working on the project have worked wonders since forming in 2009 after the last community building closed, leaving young and old with nowhere to go.

For me, the Going Underground project shows just what can be acheived with a Reaching Communities grant through our strand specifically for buildings. It also clearly demonstrates the imagination, determination and drive that local people have and what they can achive if given a helping hand with funding. It’s such an inspiring story of a community creating such an environmentally-friendly meeting place for future generations that also pays tribute to its proud past.

The Going Underground project is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK

The Going Underground project is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK

To see a rural community in Northumberland without a village hall get a £354,576 grant from BIG to build a new and quite literally ground-breaking meeting place – into the side of a hill – is something worth sharing.  It should act as inspiration for other communities to come together to make the most of the millions available for transforming buildings or sites based in strategically targeted and deprived areas in England. 

We want to see others to be inspired by both the design of the building and the drive of the community and to contact us to make sure other eligible projects do not miss out on the opportunity that is the buildings strand of our Reaching Communities programme.

For more information on the funding available please click here

To hear about the Reaching Communities awards that we are announcing today, visit our newsroom.

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