The Nunthorpe Institute, what is its future?

posted 25 Apr 2018, 07:10 by My Nunthorpe   [ updated 27 Aug 2019, 04:20 ]

Below is an article placed on the Nunthorpe News highlighting the plight of The Nunthorpe Institute after being evicted from the Dorman Suite -

The Nunthorpe Institute

The Nunthorpe Institute has been a wonderful community resource for a number of years. The Institute was originally a large First World War Army hut located in Stewarts Park and then bought in 1920 with Nunthorpe community funding. The hut was located in Connaught Road. It was originally used by the men as a billiard hall and to play chess, with the women holding their W.I. meetings. Village residents over the following years regarded The Institute as their very own social centre.

It was a wooden building with a pitch felt roof, having one very large room with a large stage, a smaller room at the side and two more rooms at the back. There were entrances at the front and the back. Unfortunately, because of its wooden construction, it suffered from a number of fires with the terminal event in 1997 when it burned down to the ground.

A very active Management Committee then took on the task of finding a new location that could offer similar facilities but in a more modern manner. With the assistance of Middlesbrough Council a suitable location was found in The Avenue Primary School. With insurance money from the fire an investment was made to improve and modernise the school’s facilities. The Institute had access to three locations within the school – the Dorman Suite, the Brunton Suite and the main hall. Unfortunately, these rooms could only be accessed after school hours. The Institute continued to prosper with a large number of user groups enjoying the facilities in the evenings.

In 2018 The Avenue School was transferred from the Local Authority to the James Cook Learning Trust, becoming an academy. Because of the anticipated increase in pupil numbers the academy announced that it required exclusive access to the Dorman Suite from July 2019 for school use. With only two remaining activity areas this has impacted on the ability of The Institute to offer the same level of use to the user groups and is presently jeopardising its continuing viability.

With the support of the Parish Council, the Community Council and the Ward Councillors a number of residents have now set up a steering group to investigate an alternative location for The Institute. This could be the use of existing buildings in Nunthorpe that could offer their facilities to the user groups or even a new purpose-built community centre. We are not sure how much longer The Institute can survive with its now limited facilities, therefore the steering group feels the situation should be addressed as soon as possible.

A survey/questionnaire has been delivered to every home in Nunthorpe (Middlesbrough Council side). It is to be hoped residents will contribute their thoughts and return it to the steering group for analysis. If there is a positive response to pursue a replacement facility this can be enthusiastically taken up by the steering group for further action.

We will keep the community advised on our progress.

Bob Mullen

on behalf of the steering group.