Geographically, Grangetown lies on the River Tees around 4 miles east of Middlesbrough. It was developed following the discovery of ironstone in the Eston Hills in 1840 by Messrs Bolckow and Vaughan and a long association with the iron and steel industry began. By 1914 Grangetown had become its own thriving community of around 5,500 people and had its own market square, shopping centre, board school, 3 public houses, 6 places of worship, a police station and a public bathhouse. Most of the men worked within the steel industry upon which the town was built. Between the World Wars there was a rapid expansion and by 1939 Grangetown had over 9,000 residents.
However, over the last 30 years large scale losses in the declining steel and heavy engineering have hit Grangetown hard. Limited access to secure, long term employment opportunities has in turn triggered the emergence and deepening of – the many problems associated with disadvantage – notably high levels of poverty and unemployment, poor health, low levels of educational attainment, high crime rates and continued physical deterioration in the physical environment.
Grangetown is currently ranked 6th out of 7934 wards in England (with 1 being the most deprived) and is in the top 10% of the most national deprived wards in the country (Tees Valley Unlimited, 2015) . During the early 90’s the ward benefited from a variety of regeneration programmes such as the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) Interventions whilst generating short term improvements, did not create sustained physical improvements and have equally rendered the community fatigued by repeated demolition sites, boarded up houses and closed businesses. Residents are perhaps understandably apathetic about current regeneration planning and there is a perception that their community is being gradually dismantled with no viable plans for future improvement.
INTRODUCTION TO FROG
Future Regeneration of Grangetown (FROG) is a registered charitable
incorporated organisation based in the heart of Grangetown was set up to
continue the regeneration of Grangetown post SRB.
Since 1998, FROG has delivered training and employment projects, improved open space and provided community transport that now creates local employment through contracts with NEAS and Redcar and
Cleveland Council through home to School runs. More recently after four years development FROG now own and manage an amazing Community Hub situated within the heart of the community.
Through its activities, FROG seeks to:
and surrounding areas
identified community needs
SOME OF OUR INITIATIVES INCLUDE:
The Wheels Solutions to Employment project
Designed to encourage 160 long term unemployed residents to attend complete basic skills course, employability volunteering and mentoring in return for subsidised driving lessons @ £5 lesson , free theory/driving test.
Some feedback from our learners…
I found out about the course from my friend who had been given a leaflet from her Connexions advisor. At the time I had no motivation and since leaving school had done nothing for over a year. To be honest I only wanted to go on the course to learn to drive but the staff and tutors were brilliant. They made you feel like you could achieve something with your life and were great role models so I started to enjoy learning again. Since then FROG helped me gain a level 1 and 2 basic skills qualification, level 2 youth work qualification, a one year apprenticeship that enabled me to do a level 2 in Youth Work and am now at Sunderland University.
Brilliant course for anyone who has very little confidence. I am a single parent with two children both in full time school. I wanted to do something with my life but was constantly told by my ex partner that I could never achieve anything, suffered domestic violence and over time my confidence hit rock bottom. I found out about the course from June a local lady who had been on the course. She said the staff were really supportive and I should contact them. The staff helped me to believe in myself and I now help other people with their CV’s, application forms and job search. I would never have had the confidence to walk into college but with FROG’s help I have gone onto gain a level 2 and level 3 qualifications in advice and guidance.
I am a 38 year old male who was successful in gaining a place with FROG Wheels Solutions to Employment through my Housing Association Tees Valley Housing offering their tenants an opportunity to learn to drive. If it wasn’t for the project I could not have afforded to do my lessons and test. From the age of 16 – 29yrs I spent most of my years in and out of prison for numerous things. I met someone just after I got out of prison and settled down with a family. However, I still found it hard to get a job and didn’t want to end up back in prison. I tried hard to get jobs but none were permanent just few weeks/months shut down as a labourer because those that permanent needed me to travel and have a full driving licence. Since passing my Test with the Wheels Project I have gained full time permanent employment and they are now going to train me up to drive a Bob Cat and JCB for which a driving licence is needed to do this. Can I say thank you to BIG Lottery and FROG for giving me the opportunity to gain a full driving license and in doing so provide a better future for my family.
Quote from the Shadow Minister, Liam Byrne MP
On my recent visit to the North East I was fortunate enough to visit the FROG Wheels Solutions to Employment Project. Those lucky enough to secure a place are offered a free provisional license, free driving /theory test, driving lessons or the opportunity to gain a taxi badge so long as they engage in learning and do some meaningful voluntary work.
On my visit to the project I met with a group of young people and long term unemployed adults who told me they felt let down by the major Government Programmes. One example was a man who had asked his local Job Centre for help to gain his taxi badge. He explained he had told his advisor that he would find employment yet still no help was available. He went onto praise the work of FROG and how through their support he now has a job as a taxi driver. I heard many real experiences of how people felt more confident, had gained new skills and how having a full time driving license had changed their lives. There were many more positive stories, such as one young lady who with a full driving license is now a mobile beauty therapist.
I did ask how the project was funded and was told the major funder was BIG Lottery. It is my personal opinion that the project is inspirational, cost effective and there is no doubt it works. For this reason I felt it necessary to write to the staff at FROG and BIG Lottery to say how proud you all should be of your achievements and; that the funding and support provided is making a real positive impact on many people’s lives.
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill
The Street Cred project
The ‘Street Cred’ project – developed with the support of the YEI European Social Fund – has focused on encouraging access for young people back into training, employment and volunteering opportunities in return for driving lessons. The project was part of the Mighty Redcar BB2 four part documentary series.
Letter from TV producer Caroline Marsden
I’m a freelance documentary producer and I’ve been doing some filming with young people involved with Future Regeneration of Grangetown (FROG). Over the past few months I have personally witnessed the work that FROG does with young people in the area.
The people working with FROG are a close-knit group of staff who live in the area and know the local community well. I’ve witnessed them working long hours to make sure that the young people they work with can get to and from jobs or training. They’re pro-active in organising the relevant training sessions for the young people they’re helping. Most of all, they think through very carefully the needs of each individual to ensure that their home lives and personal circumstances are taken into account.
The decisions the staff make are based on real understanding of what would benefit that young person and make sure they can become an active and engaged member of their community. The other thing that has struck me is how reactive they are: if someone’s circumstance change or a sudden need for help comes up, they are there to ensure that the person can continue on the path they’ve set out to get that person into long-term employment.
The young people I’ve met through FROG have shown remarkable change in the time they’ve been on the programme. FROG makes sure that, where possible, the families of the young people are involved as well so that a network forms to ensure the young person is able to stay on the right path. The brilliant thing about FROG is the almost tailored experience each person they are helping gets. And I think that’s the reason they’re seeing results. Because the FROG staff are also from the area, they know exactly what is needed to get young people, many of whom have not had the easiest start in life, into a secure and rewarding future.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. I can’t emphasise enough just how impressed I’ve been with the work FROG does.
The Grangetown United project
Following 4yrs of development FROG have transformed a neglected run down social club into use as a spacious, accessible, multi purpose community hub in the heart of Grangetown. The hub offers community facilities including a café, indoor play village and large space , retail and office units. FROG’s vision for Grangetown United was to transform this…
The Grangetown United community hub facility is a vibrant, friendly place for all ages to come together for advice and support or to enjoy a wide range of facilities and activities. The services and amenities to be offered include:
Having a spacious, accessible community hub within the heart of the community will create an opportunity to address a wide range of issues under one roof. Its central location and scale will reduce fragmentation of resources to better coordinate and break down barriers between services and disadvantaged communities. In particular, and in terms of Project
Outcomes, Grangetown United will have:
We are pleased that since officially opening in June 2019 we have welcomed around 8,000 + people of all ages. This includes hosting a Summer Beach Party, Halloween Party, Pantomimes, Christmas Dinners for residents and for Adult Learning Disability groups, Weddings, Christenings, Adult/Children’s birthday parties, charity events, awards evenings, Domestic Abuse, Warm and Well events. Our play Village is attracting lots of children every week and we can’t wait to open our new outdoor play area.
Testimonial from one of FROG's key partners
FROG are a significant asset in Grangetown, and this scheme is critical both to the physical development of the area, but also as a focus point for the social regeneration of the area through the Priority Places programme and through the initiative of people in Grangetown. Our broad approach to public health is to shift from a clinical model to a community development approach. This development will influence the development of our approach to building social capital and mobilising our communities to develop resilience and lead the improvement of their own circumstances, including their health and wellbeing.
This Grangetown United Community Hub project will improve the physical appearance of the area, and reflect the pride people in Grangetown have in their area, more than the current physical infrastructure is able to do. As importantly this project will improve the lives of people living in Grangetown by supporting practical decision making for those in incredibly difficult financial circumstances, and also by increasing their ability to gain employment through the development of skills and confidence.
I hope you are able to support this ambitious project – it will make a massive difference to proud, capable people living in incredibly difficult circumstances. FROG are an excellent local organisation and I look forward to working with them to realise their ambitions in Grangetown.
If I can be of any further assistance, or if you need any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me
Asst. Director of Public Health
The Jade Park project
Jade Park is situated opposite the Grangetown United Social Club. The Jade Park project will complement the New Grangetown United Community Hub Development FROG are working with local children young people, artists and gardeners to carry out some much needed environmental improvements. The open space that has been neglected and unused for some time.
Interested in working with FROG?
Then please drop us a line.
A BIG THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS
We would like to show our appreciation and acknowledge the tremendous support and generosity of so many people and organisations.
Thank you to each and every one of you.
Big Lottery Community Fund and Power to Change Community Business Fund, North East Ambulance Service, Redcar and Cleveland Council, SSI Task Force,Co-op Foundation, Virgin Foundation, Tees Valley Community Foundation, Impetus, Sirius Minerals, Beyond Housing, ThirteenHousing, Sabic, Semcorp, Lotte, MGT, TTE, Mercers Charity, Ineos, Tesco, Impetus and Potton Homes.
Without your support FROG would not have had an opportunity to transform the Grangetown United from a rundown social club into an multi use community hub for all ages to enjoy.