Enabler Voices: Inspiration at the end of a roller-coaster journey

What a delight it was for me to see Gateshead Citizens Advice Bureau settled in their brand new home. This Hosted Tour organised by The Glass-House and Gateshead CAB allowed me, as one of their enablers, to see just how far Gateshead CAB has travelled (a long way) since my first involvement with them in the 1980’s helping them with their Victorian terraced house premises.

The Glass-House was there to help at the very inception of their decision to move building, equipping them with inspirational ideas and boosting their confidence in their ability to involve a wider community in the project.

© Tina Gough

© Tina Gough

Gateshead CAB has been on a roller-coaster journey, which they readily admit has been hard work and fraught with worry, but have achieved a building which sets them apart, raising their profile in the community, and of which they are rightly very proud. It is a building which is proving to be flexible in operation, already readily responding to changing needs, and capable of future expansion. (For instance the local food-bank have moved into the premises.)

They have had positive responses from clients who say they feel valued and safe, and from staff whose morale is higher. The session included a summary of the overall process of developing these new premises, tour of the building and discussion with the visiting group who were bursting with questions throughout. It was clear from responses that all attending found the experience invaluable in being able to take forward ideas to their own community groups, and not least in making contact with each other. An inspirational morning for all!

Tina Gough is a Glass-House Enabler and architect with Spence and Dower LLP