Blyth Education & Community Hub (BEACH)
Designed to offer something for all areas of the community, the Blyth Education and Community Hub – or BEACH for short – is an exciting, new addition to the quayside in Blyth. So far two phases of work have taken place and the Duchess of Northumberland has been kind enough to officially open them both.
Phase One saw the development of the striking Blyth Boathouse building, incorporating a high quality fish restaurant and the Port Heritage Centre, a permanent home for items and artefacts highlighting the Port of Blyth’s rich history. Visit the Blyth Boathouse website here for more information on current menus and exhibitions, or check out the Port Heritage Centre’s archive here.
The Blyth Boathouse building is managed by Blyth Tall Ship Project who will also provide additional historic exhibitions across the year and have an adjacent workshop using boat building skills as the basis for innovative training – mostly with school children and young people.
With the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Blyth Tall Ship has acquired a 100 year old Baltic Trader that – thanks to their new and improved work space – they are currently restoring and refitting. In 2019 they hope to recreate the original voyage of Blyth merchant seaman Captain William Smith, who discovered the first land mass in Antarctica in 1819.
BEACH Phase One is also home to Newcastle University’s Blyth Marine Station providing a new marine sciences facility alongside their research vessel “Princess Royal” which is also berthed in the Port, while a new quay development completes the phase by serving the important regional fishing industry.
Phase One of the development was funded through a collaboration between Port of Blyth, Newcastle University, Northumberland County Council, the Coastal Communities Fund, European Fisheries Fund, Regional Growth Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.
Phase Two of the Blyth Education and Community Hub was completed in the summer of 2016 and has education and training at its core.
The brand new, purpose built Port Training Centre is a permanent home for the award winning Port of Blyth subsidiary Port Training Services. Housing state of the art training facilities, the centre will prepare the port workers of the future and is also home to a water sports training facility.
The new building will enable Port Training Services to develop its offering of NVQ’s and plant training, while enhancing its delivery of apprenticeships and community engagement as well as its innovative tie in with the Blyth Tall Ship project.
A second building developed during this phase offers students from Newcastle University and Northumberland College the use of state-of-the-art facilities to complete their marine related studies.
Newcastle University’s relocated Emerson Cavitation Tunnel Laboratory is due to open in February 2017, whilst a landmark renewable energy related training course from Northumberland College – one of the only courses of its type available in the UK – is now running on site.
Phase Two of the development was funded through a collaboration between Port of Blyth, Newcastle University, Northumberland College, Active Northumberland, the North East LEP, the Coastal Communities Fund, Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund.