Can you play a part in improving South Tyneside?

Gary Craig, chair of South Tyneside Business Forum, is one of the directors of the South Shields Coastal Community Team.
Gary Craig, chair of South Tyneside Business Forum, is one of the directors of the South Shields Coastal Community Team.

A team of residents have come together to help improve what South Tyneside has to offer.

The South Shields Coastal Community Team aims to promote the area to increase the number of visitors to South Tyneside.

King Street in South Shields.

King Street in South Shields.

Last month the organisation held a public launch at the Customs House which saw around 50 people turn out with ideas to improve positivity and community spirit to South Shields.

Gary Craig, chairman of South Tyneside Business Forum and one of the team’s directors, hopes more people will come forward and get involved.

The 58-year-old, from Fulmar Walk in Whitburn, said: “One of our aims is to do a community clean up in the town centre.

“We want to draw attention to the problems caused by litter. Although it isn’t the council who drops it, is them who have to clean it up at a huge cost.

“We hope the clean up will help save money and have other benefits.”

He added: “We are also looking to create an app for South Shields to advertise local businesses and try to make it a year-round destination.”

Other goals include introducing a tourist train and acquiring a vacant building to house a social enterprise project to help it become self-sufficient.

Although the team is independent, it will work with South Tyneside Council and community and environmental group Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle on the planned projects.

South Shields Coastal Community Team is also registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) so it can receive funding and has already had a Government grant as part of the Coastal Community Alliance - an initiative which helps costal towns.

The grant has allowed them to hire social enterprise expert Kate Welch who is providing professional advice.

Mr Craig, a dad-of-two who runs his own architectural services business, said the team already has around 50 members.

He added: “There are a lot of ideas and we are still trying to prioritise them.

“There is a lot of work to be done, but we want to give this a go to create positivity.

“If you have something you think is a problem we are asking you come along with your ideas to get it sorted.”

To get involved email: info@southtynesidebusinessforum.com or search South Tyneside Business Forum on Facebook.