Conversation can change everything!
Our partnership with Thirteen Housing Group
Some of the best ideas come about partly by chance, and this was the case with our partnership with Thirteen Housing Group that was so crucial in the creation of Kids Kabin Middlesbrough.
Thirteen was immediately supportive when it heard we were looking to expand to the south of the region. We’d had some success with pilot activities with local partners, and Thirteen liked the idea of our mobile workshops. The Thirteen team knew where we’d be most valuable.
A meeting in Grove Hill led to the suggestion of a perfect spot at the junction between Deepdale and Woodville Avenue. This open area of grass, safely away from the road but in the heart of the community, is visible from many homes, and became the location for our first series of street workshops in the summer of 2018 – as well as the finishing line for our Newcastle to Middlesbrough bike ride!
Matthew Trueman of Thirteen Housing Group said: "Having seen Kids Kabin in action in Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, we’re really impressed by the outcomes of the team’s organic approach to engaging young people. Residents have welcomed the volunteers, and we look forward to seeing how Kids Kabin can further complement our continued investment in the community, environment and properties in the area.”
A few months later, Sue McBride joined as manager of Kids Kabin Middlesbrough, and was invited to run creative and fun workshops to engage families at a Thirteen event held at a converted bungalow. Never one to miss an opportunity, Sue asked about renting the premises, and this conversation changed everything!
Although that bungalow wasn’t quite right for us, Thirteen offered us a flat in Laurel Avenue, less than 200 metres from where we’d held our street workshops. Thirteen understood exactly what we needed and fitted a simple kitchen, blinds, and hard-wearing floor. This created a blank canvas onto which children could make their mark, working with us to decorate the flat and fit out their own woodwork room.
Sue McBride, Kids Kabin Manager, Middlesbrough said: "From our first meeting with Anne and Jane from Thirteen, it was clear they keep the community at the heart of everything they do. With Thirteen covering the cost of the building in Grove Hill, we can use all our funding to benefit the children taking part in our activities. In turn, we encourage them to take pride in where they live, with regular litter picks and projects that make a difference in their neighbourhood.”
Kids Kabin Middlesbrough is steadily growing. Thirteen has helped Sue and her team start workshops in the Thorntree-Brambles Farm area from its Charwood Centre. Sue now has a team of project workers and volunteers delivering workshops in a range of satellite locations for 60 young people each week. Since 2019, 480 children have taken part, and as well as building their confidence and practical skills, they’re now sharing their skills with their peers.
Kids Kabin is committed to Middlesbrough for the long-term and we owe a big thanks to Thirteen Housing Group!