Cheers, volunteers!

The Hartlepool Action Lab is about local people and organisations working collaboratively towards a Hartlepool where everybody can thrive and prosper. They are the change-makers at the heart of the Action Lab.

As it was Volunteers’ Week last week – and our first birthday – we thought we’d ask two project team members to say a couple of words about what they do as part of Hartlepool Action Lab project teams.

Peter Robinson is Community Development Officer at Extended Services in North of Hartlepool (ESINH) and is part of the Stronger Neighbourhoods project team.

Peter Robinson

Q: How did you become involved in the Hartlepool Action Lab, Peter? 

“I was initially involved in the Participatory Research training in February 2016, which ultimately led to the Stronger Neighbourhoods project.

Q: What has happened since?

“I have been involved in a number of community research sessions for the Hartlepool Action Lab. I helped to produce ‘Conversations in Hartlepool’, which informed projects created during the Hartlepool Action Lab in June 2016. I have also engaged with residents of the De Bruce area of Hartlepool, to find out what they think about community spirit locally. As part of my role in the Stronger Neighbourhoods project, I support residents in the De Bruce area who have a keen interest in forming an ‘action group’ to try put some of the residents’ ideas into practice.”

Q: How does your involvement in the Hartlepool Action Lab relate to ESINH’s work?

“My current role is that of a Community Development Worker, therefore all forms of community engagement and development work, or any projects/activities created from community research and Hartlepool Action Lab coincides with my current role as a supporting partner.

Q: What would you say to others who may want to get involved in the Hartlepool Action Lab? 

“If it benefits your community and creates opportunities for residents of your community, simply get involved!

Stuart Drummond manages Hartlepool NDC Trust and is part of the Housing Heroes team.

Q: How is the Trust involved in the Housing Heroes project?

“The NDC Trust has been involved in Housing Heroes from the beginning and is supporting every aspect of the project.  So far, the NDC Trust has led on providing a ‘taster day’ for the young people involved in the project: they were given the chance to get involved in some construction work on a real property, including painting, decorating, tiling, joinery and other general construction tasks.

“The Trust also arranged a visit to some student accommodation in Middlesbrough to give the young people an idea and a feel for the type of property they might want to live in. Those who attended the sessions have enjoyed them and got a lot out of them; however, attendance has not been great since and we are finding it difficult to fully engage the young people in the project.

Q: How does the work of the Trust relate to the project?

“The support provided by the NDC Trust so far mirrors what we do on a daily basis,  i.e. providing practical experiences for young people in Hartlepool.

Q: Can other people get involved in the project?

“The steering group has always had an open policy and are happy to welcome anyone with an interest in being involved.  That said, we are at a point where we may be in danger of becoming over-loaded with adults and organisations and not enough young people.  There will certainly be opportunities further down the line for others to become involved; however, work going forward needs to focus on engaging with young people.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Trust’s future involvement in the project?

“Finally, the NDC Trust is delighted to support the Housing Heroes project and is very willing to lead on some of the work streams.  Commitment from partners and volunteers has been superb and the signs so far are that this project has the potential to be a huge success.

Peter and Stewart are two of dozens of people who contribute to the Hartlepool Action Lab. As we posted in May, a team of local people is working hard to understand what makes life unaffordable in Hartlepool.

Want to join our movement? Email hello@hartlepoolactionlab.org or phone 07988592095, it would be great to hear from you!