Gateway to Success – Local charity secures over half a million in investment to purchase building at the heart of a community

Gateway to Success – Local charity secures over half a million in investment to purchase building at the heart of a community

Deborah Nixon Carr

May 24 2024

Northstar Ventures, has made a significant investment of £440,000 into Gateway Into The Community (GITC), via the North East Social Investment Fund (NESIF) alongside grants of £37,500 from partners the County Durham Community Foundation and £40,000 from Garfield Weston Foundation.

The funding provides the charity with much-needed help to purchase ‘The Den’, a beloved building in Hexham town centre. As part of a 6-year project, their team have striven to transform it into a fit for purpose hub of vital support in health and social care provision for those with learning difficulties in the West Northumberland area.

Since 1998 GITC, has created a real sense of community for people with learning disabilities. GITC’s dedicated team supports over 150 people weekly with a wide range of services from bespoke individual support to youth groups where multiple people receive intervention. All activities promote health and wellbeing everything from sport, art, and technology projects and even a regular disco – all encouraging greater independence and providing safe spaces to socialise.

The Den, now has the reputation of being a real asset to the local community. Previously, the building was an unloved and unused empty space. Now GITC has transformed this place into a vibrant, welcoming place full of colour, laughter, and fun, where members feel at home. The location has meant that GITC have been able to utilise the space to bring a sense of purpose and provide real opportunities for social development, impact, and benefit to the local and wider community.

Julia Ferguson, Chief Executive of Gateway Into The Community, said: ‘We are thrilled to secure a loan with Northstar Ventures and grants from County Durham Community Foundation & Garfield Weston Foundation to purchase The Den in Hexham, a building we have helped empower so many people in. Through Northstar Ventures we were able to get support from the REACH programme which put us on a pathway to become investment ready. This has been an incredible achievement for us. Our members and their families are thrilled as this will provide sustainability and a real future for not only our existing members but members in the future.’

Naomi Allen-Seales, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures, said: ‘When we first encountered Gateway Into The Community, we could immediately see the impact they had on their community. We knew with a bit of wrap around support, we would be able to help them achieve their ambition of securing their building and start the charity onto a pathway of longevity which will ultimately benefit the whole community. We are proud to support them and to see the hard work of such a dedicated team pay off.’

Michelle Cooper, Chief Executive of grant-making organisation County Durham Community Foundation, said: ‘Organisations like Gateway Into The Community are very often the beating heart of the communities they serve. They are so much more than the services they offer, they’re a safe space, a welcoming space, a haven, a place where people can begin to thrive. We’re always motivated to get behind organisations such as Gateway Into The Community who are tackling important issues, supporting local people and enriching lives every day.”

Related News