Whitley Bay Big Local is a community led organisation which was established as one of 150 ‘Big Locals’ through a national programme funded by Big Lottery Fund and administered by Local Trust. The programme aims to support people living in targeted communities to identify issues of local concern, propose solutions and resource those ideas.
Now into its eighth year of operation, Whitley Bay Big Local has delivered a broad range of programmes and activities that consult the interests of local people and create activity for people to participate and lead
In March 2017 WBBL became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registered Charity No: 1171848) which enabled us to take a commercial lease and open an accessible and welcoming space for a wide range of community events. More information about WBBL's trustees, finances etc can be found on the Charity Commissions website
Whilst the overall work of the CIO is now broader than the initial Big Local agreement, we continue to receive core funding towards the achievement of national programme outcomes:
Communities will be better able to identify local needs and take action in response to them
People will have increased skills and confidence, so that they continue to identify and respond to needs in the future
The community will make a difference to the needs it prioritises
People will feel that their area is an even better place to live
Whitley Bay Big Local’s focus is on key 'themes':
Environment - At our AGM in November 2021, we shared our hopes and dreams that our community building will become greener, more sustainable and an even better place for our community, our planet and help to improve how Whitley Bay looks for residents and visitors.
People and Wellbeing - supporting members of our community that need it and improving people's day-to-day lives
Premises and Engagement – reaching out to all parts of our community and managing activities in our community building at 158 Whitley Road in Whitley Bay, which we bought in November 2021. We are planning the refurbishment of the building.
Creativity – supporting and delivering a carnival, workshops and activities to engage local people in creative activities
Whitley Bay Big Local continues to engage with community members and partners to enable people to work together to unlock resources and strengthen our collective belief and pride in Whitley Bay.
Our community building at 158 Whitley Road in Whitley Bay is becoming an established venue for informal and more structured uses with a diverse programme of activities.
WBBL will continue to engage with a wide range of community members and partners to enable people to work together to unlock resources and strengthen our collective belief and pride in Whitley Bay. We will work to change the way we do things so that we can become an even more positive, inclusive, supportive, creative, vibrant, beautiful, fun and happy community.
For a flavour of some of the activities WBBL has been involved in to date please visit the
Our Bigger Story web page which highlights some aspects of our work.
What We Do
Making a positive difference: Since opening our first community space in 2014/15, we have built up people- focused support and drop ins, providing a space for others to deliver their specialisms and bringing people and agencies together. Making an impact on climate change is no longer just about the things we don’t do. It’s the things we do together as communities that will have the greatest impact. Read more about our aspirations in a blog written by our CEO David Carnaffan.
Community leadership: We have supported and developed a number of key projects:
Creative Civic Change - Building on the successes of the revived annual town carnival (which WBBL brought back after community consultation) we were granted funds to bringing people into creative activities that would otherwise not participate, developing social, sharing and learning links across the community.
BayCreate - Working with Barnados, we have been awarded prestigious national YAP Challenge funding to develop a two year inter-generational project; bringing older and younger people together around the idea that 'we are more the same than different', developing a creative and heritage-based project.
Supporting excluded and vulnerable people:
Big Batch Cook: Within two weeks of COVID lockdown, we worked rapidly and with other local organisations to provide a range of services, including a meals delivery service to people living in insecure accommodation (eg B&B’s) aimed at vulnerable people not covered by the statutory services offer.
We were awarded seed funding to combat isolation, working in conjunction with GPs, after our track record was recognized in providing a welcoming and inclusive space. That has led to us supporting many homeless and vulnerable people that have complex and often chaotic lives.
Influencing Change: We make sure the voices of local people are heard and we use this to influence and effect change. For example, in 2013 we created an environmental master plan for how the town could look. Many elements of it have since been adopted by the Council as part of their seafront redevelopments. We now host regular strategic partners meetings with the local authority and other key stakeholders, developing effective partnerships across a range of agendas, to make a difference to local planning, services and relationships. Our place in the town is now firmly established.
Whitley Bay Big Local is a member of the Community Wealth Fund Alliance (CWFA).