In 2013, Cresswell, Ellington, Linton and Lynemouth joined together as CELL Big Local to bring about diverse and far-reaching projects to improve life in the villages.
It was one of 150 projects supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, aimed at targeting communities in need of investment and support.
Run entirely by residents of the four villages, CELL Big local officially closes down today (Thursday) having become the first in the country to spend its allocation in full.
During its nine-year life CELL Big Local has used its Lottery funding to kick-start a wide range of projects which have, in turn, attracted investment from other funding bodies that have nearly tripled the value of the original grant.
The installation of three brand-new children’s play parks in Ellington, Linton and Lynemouth has been among the successes.
Work was also kick-started on the historic Cresswell Pele Tower, turning it from a forgotten ruin on English Heritage’s at risk register into a fully restored attraction popular with visitors and for community use by local people.
There has also been investment in the YMCA young people’s drop-in services including creating a new youth space at Lynemouth; supporting the set-up of the 1st CELL Scouts group; helping fund Groundwork NE and Cumbria to recruit volunteers and deliver ambitious improvements to Lyne Dene; partnering Northumberland County Council to upgrade the footpath from Linton to Lynemouth; and supporting Ellington Juniors football team in fund raising for a new clubhouse and high-spec multi-use games area.
Linton resident Shirley Johnson, who has been chair of the group for less than a year, paid tribute to her predecessors and all the partners of CELL Big local and said: “As we close, we leave behind confident and motivated communities and individuals, who will go from strength to strength in the quest to make the most of life in Cresswell, Ellington, Linton and Lynemouth.”
Its ambition for improving life in the four villages will live on in the form of a new organisation, the CELL Villages in Partnership Community Land Trust, which will continue work to improve housing and the street environment.