Two years ago, Community Hubs Network took an interest in the future of one of the last untouched remnants of County Durham’s industrial heritage: Leadgate Engine Shed. With the amazing support of the owner of the building we have been able to utilise the inside space to develop an upcycling / recycling project, and outside space for environmental projects (Leadgate Bees, a food wall, and a wild flower meadow). We have also been able to support a local lad in the development of his poultry business (the geese and chickens have been a big local draw to adults and children alike). After a supportive few years, the owner wants to sell the building - but the good news is she will sell to sell it to us at a cut price! We need to raise £190,000 to buy the land and the 405 sq m building before it gets offered to the usual ‘developers’. The building will be owned by a newly formed trust who will ensure it is always kept and used for the benefit of the local community.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Even three years ago The Engine Shed was just another old building being used for storage with the odd business tenant coming and going, surrounded by scrub and general waste. Sites like this are a depressing reminder of an industrial past for villages like Leadgate. By literally bringing life to the building (life that honks and clucks mainly!) the transformation is already amazing, with local people taking it on themselves to come and feed the geese and chickens or help out with laying out the food wall troughs. Our caretaker affectionately refers to the site as ‘the lobster pot’ – because once you’re in you don’t want to leave! (Not a completely accurate description of a lobster pot, but I get where he’s coming from!) The site sits nicely on the outer side of the village, with adjacent fields and woods that youth groups want to utilise, and we have direct access to the Coast to Coast cycle track (ideal for our planned Pit Stop Cafe). Leadgate needs this space!
Steps to get it done:
Housed in The Engine Shed will be a number of ‘units’ that will work together to generate an exciting hub of activity. Local entrepreneurs, current and retired craftspeople and tradespeople, business leaders, students and volunteers will all be encouraged to work together, swap skills and showcase the ideas and creativity of the people of Leadgate, Consett and surrounding region. With the shed operating as a giant workshop for training opportunities and our ‘Eurotrash Recycled’ project, there will ALWAYS be something going on for people to get involved in. Outside of the Shed, the ethos behind the project is to allow the public to have a natural encounter with wildlife and the environment; for example we are currently planting edible troughs for the public to use at will to feed the poultry. The people of Leadgate are doing their bit too, Leadgate Taskforce Group is formed and run by a handful of local residents taking positive action to make Leadgate a better place.
About the space
Leadgate Engine Shed
Durham County Council