The Maritime Centre
In 2006 discussions by the heritage project team with the Heritage Association and the other history group in the village brought together one organisation - the Newbiggin by the Sea Heritage Partnership to serve all interests. The Partnership secured funding to build and operate the Newbiggin Maritime Centre.
The area around the existing Heritage Centre was secured with a 99 year lease at a peppercorn rent from Northumberland County Council and a robust business plan was developed. Strong links were forged witha number of organisations including the local Strategic Partnership, Northumberland County Council, the RNLI, Newbiggin LIFE, English Heritage, Woodhorn Museum and Wansbeck CVS.
We worked with James Associates, experienced in many differing heritage building projects and we also worked with architecture students from Northumbria University in developng innovative designs for the new Centre, which went to public consultation in 2006. The Centre opened in 2011 and is a year round visitor centre, heritage and education centre based around the Mary Joicey lifeboat.
The Centre provides tourist information, visitor interpretation and orientation, education and heritage facilities, display space for major artefacts, employment and volunteering opportunities, catering and retail facilities and a community archive for research.
The new building is single storey and sensitive to its location close to the landmark Grade I listed St. Bartholomew's Church.
Newbiggin Heritage Partnership
- Provides volunteering opportunities for Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award students from Northumberland Church of England Academy.
- Works with Buzz Learning to help prepare youngsters to become work ready.
- Hosts clients from Northumberland Employment Work Scheme to enable them to complete volunteering requirements.
- Accepts apprentices at level 2 in professional catering, retail and office administration.
- Gives opportunities for work experience to students in secondary education.
- Hosts residents from nursing homes with tea, talk and film presentations of "Newbiggin in Bygone Days" to aid recollections.
- Provides work experience for adults with learning or communication difficulties.
- Visits church groups, the WI, regional scouting associations, the Rotary Club and rest homes to give illustrated talks on "The Heritage of Newbiggin by the Sea".
- Has worked with NECT and Ashington Academy to explore Heritage Skills in Education.
- Is part of the training course for the NCC Blue Badge Scheme.
- Provides an Annual Kite Festival for the residents and visitors to Newbiggin.
- Hosts a Genealogy Project interactive pod.
- Holds regular Buskers Nights to encourage local musicians to play and entertain.
- Provides a Film Club.
- Encourages the knitting of poppies to be sold for the Royal British Legion.
- Provides a free children's activity table which is always available.
- Gives two free tables to local charities at each fair, enabling them to raise funds.
- Hosts a monthly Art Exhibition in the Breakwater Café providing opportunities for artists and photographers to exhibit and the public to experience a variety of art forms.
- Hosts three prestigious Art Exhibitions per year in the Latimer Room.
- Is engaged in community consultation meetings for the restoration of the Rocket House.
Some of these engagements are undertaken through NHP's operational arm, the Newbiggin Maritime Centre.