South Shields couple aim to breathe new life into historic mining landmark
A South Tyneside couple are hoping to inject some of their trade-mark carnival spirit into a historic landmark.
The Creative Seed, run by Garner and Sandy Harris, has now taken ownership of St Hilda’s Pit Head in South Shields.
The couple, one of the driving forces behind the rejuvenation of the annual South Tyneside Festival Parade, are aiming to transform the Grade II-listed building into a vibrant arts and cultural space.
The venue stands on the site of the former St Hilda’s Colliery site which re-opened last year following a National Lottery supported restoration and help from South Tyneside Council.
As well as retaining its mining heritage, the building will be utilised for exhibitions, workshops and performances.
Sandy, said “We work with a diverse range of groups both regionally and nationally.
“We are moving into the building as the company is expanding rapidly and St Hilda’s Pit Head will aid us in the work we do in South Tyneside.
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“We want to encourage more people to get involved in our creative workshops and having a wonderful building like this to invite people to will make that so much easier.”
The venue was previously run by Community Arts Project North East.
Diane Ray, from the project, said: “Having worked with Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust over the past six months to establish St Hilda’s Pit Head as a Cultural, Heritage and Community venue, it is now time for Community Arts Project North East to move on and develop our community projects further.
“To enable us to concentrate on this, we are pleased to be handing over the reins at St Hilda’s to The Creative Seed. It has been an honour to work at St Hilda’s and look forward to seeing it flourish under new management.”
Martin Hulse from Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust said: “We are really looking forward to seeing what The Creative Seed can bring to this amazing building.”
The company is encouraging local communities to engage with the arts and have launched a five-week carnival after school club, starting Wednesday April 24, from 5.30pm til 7pm. Cost £25.
To book a place or details on upcoming activities visit www.creativeseed.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook www.facebook.com/thecreativeseedcarnival.