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Posts from the ‘Volunteers’ Category

Volunteer Profile: Tom Watts

Tom Watts, 23

Name: Tom Watts

Age: 23

Where do you live? Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Interests/hobbies: Sports/travel/reading

Favourite film: I’d say probably Alvin and the Chipmunks 2. Just kidding, maybe Gladiator.

Favourite TV show: Match of the Day

Favourite book: The Hitchhikers Gudie to the Galaxy

Favourite holiday spot:

Lake Bled, Slovenia. It’s this clear blue lake, an island in the middle of it with a church on the island, and a high cliff face on one side of the lake with a Castle on the top of the cliff. And snow capped mountains on all sides. It’s the most picturesque place I’ve ever seen.

If you were given £50,000, how would you spend it?

I would donate it all to the school project of course! But apart from that, I think I would buy a new car as I’m learning to drive at the moment.


That’s a tough one. Jack of all trades, I guess!

Where did you hear about the project?

I think I was just walking past the school and went in to have a look at what was going on.

How long have you been volunteering at the school?

About a month.

What sort of work have you been doing at the school?

Mostly lots of typing, cataloging, databases. All that kind of stuff, but anything I can do to help really.

Why do you volunteer?

Well it’s just nice to be doing something useful, and doing something that contributes towards the community in some way. I used to go to the old school so I’m happy that something is happening with it now and that I can be a part of it.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

One thing I’m looking at right now is applying for funding to turn the old school yard into a multi-use sports/games area. The idea is maybe two five-a-side football pitches that can also be used for other sports like netball, cricket or even archery. I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops. I love sport myself and it would be great for there to be something like that for the local area, because at the moment there are no other outdoor sports facilities in Saltburn and even the field opposite the golf course is closed off. So hopefully that can happen and it will encourage people to exercise more and play sport, maybe even people who otherwise might not get involved. That would be fantastic.

Volunteer Profile: Lizzie Brown

Lizzie Brown

Name: Lizzie Brown

Age: 25

Lives: On the Jewel Streets, Saltburn

Interests/hobbies: Photography, music, people, walking, art, painting, gardening, Northern Lights (where I work) the list goes on.

Favourite film: The Labyrinth

Favourite TV show: Silent Witness

Favourite book: The Crow Road, Ian Banks

Favourite holiday spot:

I’m going to stick to my roots (as I’ve not holidayed much recently) and go for wee place in the West Coast of Scotland called Tayvallich. It’s an absolutely stunning place, with clear sparkling skies at night and delightful memories at every turn.

If you were given £50,000 tomorrow, how would you spend it?

I would definitely give my family money as they have been a lifetime of generous to me, take myself and my boyfriend away on a holiday and buy a large amount of stock from Northern Lights Interiors. I have my eye on a few chandeliers etc.


I’m pretty good at making cocktails, and playing the bass.

Where did you hear about the project?

I heard via Peter Neal when he was writing the the bid.

How long have you been volunteering at the school?

Since work first started, whenever I was free for a bit of happy volunteering graft!

What sort of work have you been doing at the school?

Painting, scraping, de-nailing, vacuming, sweeping, de- littering. Basically anything I was able to do to help. Tile scraping with Danielle being the highlight. It’s amazing to see them now!

Why do you volunteer?

Because I think volunteering is a wonderful thing to do. People have been so caring and welcoming ever since I moved to Saltburn last September and through volunteering it is one way for me to say thank you.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

I enjoy the feeling you get when you see the outcome of your hard graft and the benefits, even if a little, it will bring to the project and the community.

Volunteer Profile: Alistair Nixon

We asked volunteer Alistair Nixon to write a few words about his experience helping at the school.

Volunteer Alistair Nixon

Volunteer Alistair Nixon

Here’s what he told us…

“I’ve now volunteered at the Saltburn School on a few occasions, helping out in the run up the Saltburn Arts Fair at the beginning of August, when the building officially opened.

I was excited when I first heard about the possible transfer of the school to the community, and relieved when I heard that it had been approved.

I’d been a pupil at the school in the early 1990s, when it was Saltburn Primary School, and I have fond memories of it. After all, a primary school is not like a secondary school, which (from my memories at least) is all more or less awkwardness and exams.

To be honest, I’d been itching to go back in there and look around since the day I left. Walking into the school for the first time again, however, it was hard to think it had ever been a functioning school in the first place. The years had not been kind: some electrics were exposed, dust covered most of the floors (which were missing more than a few floorboards), the paint on the walls was cracked and brown with damp and great rectangles on the walls, remaining from where board displays had been torn away, exposed plaster not seen for decades. Some rooms had been vandalised during a break in a few years ago. Debris and artifacts from years gone by cluttered most of the rooms.

My contribution has been abysmally marginal compared to those who have toiled through the days into the evenings to get the building up to scratch. (That work continues, even now.)

I’ve been involved in various tasks, which, running things off the top of my head, has included: painting walls, stripping walls, repainting walls, pulling nails out of floors, moving cupboards, sweeping floors, scraping and then soaping away industrial glue from floors, mopping floors, drying floors (sacrificing a few bath towels in the process) and finally making the odd cup of tea.

The hardest task of all, however, has been trying to remain focused enough not to go wandering off through the old corridors, exploring the empty classrooms, and reminiscing and reflecting on my own memories of the school.
The first time I went up to help out, while I was off ‘exploring’ I was introduced to another former pupil, who was doing precisely the same. She was the grandmother of one of the volunteers helping out. Generations separated us, but it turns out we had both shared the same classroom. We all know the school building, but it’s moments like that you realise just how many of us, spanning generations, that “we” consists of, and how significant a part of Saltburn that this building indeed is.

A school is there to give us the space to grow, expand our horizons, explore new ideas, make a bit more sense of the world around us and the things that we can do in it. The great promise of The Saltburn School is enabling that tradition to continue. It’s so neat you sort of wonder how the school building could ever have become something else.

A great deal more work still needs to be done. I’d recommend to anyone to take a visit and help out. That might be by painting walls and mopping floors. Or it could simply be by wandering off through the classrooms, reminiscing about the school’s past and – more importantly – reflecting upon the possibilities for its future. After all, the Saltburn School is a space in the hands of the community, and if that future is to be shaped by anyone, it’s us.”

Community Gardening Update

Thanks to gardening renovation co-ordinator Elisa Duffew and all the volunteers who came to help out for the first Community Gardening Day on August 12.

Those that came helped Elisa to make a start on clearing weeds from what will be the Community Garden & Allotment

This Sunday, August 19, another Community Gardening Day is planned from 12pm to 4pm. This time volunteers will be tilling the soil in the community herb garden at the front of the school and also trimming back the overgrown hedge nearby. If you fancy giving us a hand contact Elisa Duffew on 07986131106 or 01287-622946.


As well as needing volunteers this Sunday, we also need tools such as spades and hedge trimming equipment (loppers!).

Do you have any gardening tools we could borrow/have? If so please drop off at the school any day from 10am to 4pm.

Third Community Action Weekend

Joel scrubbing the cafe floor

Joel’s doing a really great job scrubbing that floor!

Thanks to everyone who took part in the third Community Action Weekend on July 28 and 29. We had over 20 adult volunteers (and countless children) give up a large portion of their weekend to help us out.

Jobs done included painting the exhibition spaces, scrubbing the wooden floors of the the ghastly glue, sanding the walls, and of course sweeping the floors and cleaning.

Thank you to all volunteers that helped out, too many to name everyone, which include Caed Parker, Bob Mitchell, Becky Mitchell, Carl Mole, Simon Palmer, Alistair Nixon, Lizzie Brown, Benjamin Woodrow.

Special shout out goes to student Joel, who scrubbed the cafe floor the whole day, not an easy job!


The Saltburn School in the Evening Gazette

Much to our delight The Saltburn School was featured in the Evening Gazette today.

On the top picture, from left to right, are volunteers: Tammy Guy-Jobson; Margaret Guy-Jobson; Emily Hesse; Wendy Walker; Rachael Ward; Danielle Baker; Peter Neal and Paul Klews.

Rachael Ward, Emily Hesse and Margaret Guy-Jobson are shown swinging from the ropes in the middle shot and Danielle Baker can be seen hard at work in the shot on the right.

The Article

School getting set for it’s fresh start
Charity helps with transformation of site

AN abandoned school building is being turned into a centre for sport, people and the arts thanks to community-based charity.

The Saltburn Community & Arts Association is leading the project at Saltburn Junior School, in Marske Mill Lane.

The group is working with the local community to create the new centre.

Saltburn Junior School was built in 1903 and designed in the Neo-Georgian style by Sir Edwin Cooper. It was abandoned in 2009 when pupils moved to the newly built Huntcliff school campus.

Last year the association put forward a community asset transfer bid, on behalf of the community, to transfer the school from Redcar and Cleveland Council to local ownership.

In May this year a two-year licence agreement was signed and the past eight weeks have been spent renovating the building.

The school will host the town’s first arts festival and other plans include the development of performance and rehearsal space, exhibitions space, artist residences, a cafe, a town archive and skate park.

With the help of a £19,520 grant from the Community Builders Feasibility Fund they have managed to get the ball rolling – paying for vital surveys to be done.

The association needs to raise £22,000 for the first phase, which will pay for renovation of radiators, windows, floors and walls, as well as stocking a new cafe.

So far two community action weekends have taken place, where volunteers and residents have worked on improving the building. Volunteers from the local area who are looking for work have also given up their time.

Photography graduate Caed Parker, 25, said “I’ve been doing stuff like plastering walls, painting, all of the things to do with renovating a listed building.”

Peter Neal, a board member of Saltburn Community and Arts Association, said, “You will be able to just drop in, have a cup of coffee at the cafe, go to a class, or look at some art on your way back from the shops.”

By Sophie Barley

Artefacts Found Behind the Radiator

The found artifacts

Volunteers Peter Neal, Tammy Guy-Jobson and Rachael Ward stumbled across an assortment of old school memorabilia today When they were scraping some paint work in the main hall. The artifacts were hidden behind the original radiator outside the headmistress’s office and where she stood at the front of the hall.

The items included an unopened letter to the headmistress; a medical record for Kathleen Hobson dating back to 1927; musical certificates; a book of Fellowship songs; an algebra exercise book; a bus pass from the 1960s and other items.

Maureen’s On The Mend

Margaret, Maureen and Lily

Maureen on the right in better days!

During the week Maureen Lynas, one of our volunteers, had a fall in the new cafe and broke her wrist. She was taken to hospital by ambulance. Unfortunately the break was pretty bad. Maureen visited the orthopedic clinic this week and is going again next week to get an X-ray to see if the break is knitting.

I am told Maureen is keeping busy by re-visiting the Harry Potter books. Nothing like a bit of Hogwarts to lift the spirit. Updates on Maureen to follow in the coming weeks

Hold the Front Page!

The Saltburn School was featured in the The Northern Echo on Wednesday this week.

The Article

The Article

The Article

Community aids creation of arts centre

ARTISTS and residents are transforming an abandoned Edwardian school into a thriving arts centre.

Residents gathered to save the former Saltburn Junior School, a neo-Georgian style building built in 1903, from re-development in 2009 after it was abandoned.

The school was left empty after pupils moved to the new Huntcliff School Campus.

Last autumn, Saltburn Community and Arts Association put forward a bid on behalf of the community to transfer the school from council to local ownership.

The bid was passed and a two-year licence agreement was signed in May.

The past seven weeks have been spent renovating the building with the help of the community. It is expected to open in September.

Peter Neal, a board member of Saltburn Community and Arts Association, said: “The school sits smack-bang in the geographical centre of the town.

“You will be able to just drop in, have a cup of coffee at the cafe, go to a class, or look at some art on your way back from the shops.

“Volunteers are crucial to this project. It can’t and won’t happen without them. If they want to save it, they must help, be it dropping off some paint stripper or lending a hand with vacuuming or mopping the floors.”

He said more community action weekends would be held so people could help.

The school will host Saltburn’s first arts festival, in conjunction with the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, from August 4 to 6.

Longer-term plans include the development of performance and rehearsal space, exhibition rooms, artist residences, as well as a cafe and town archive.

To donate visit

The venue’s website is at

Photographer Stuart Boulton came in to take some pictures on the Saturday of the second Community Action Weekend. Volunteer Lily Hesse, 8, enjoyed having her picture taken.

Here’s a shot taken that didn’t make the cut:

Lily Hesse, 8

Murray v The Saltburn School

Andy Murray

Andy Murray may have dashed our hopes of a Brit winning Wimbledon this weekend, but the generous British spirit won outright at The Saltburn School. Several members of the community came out to help us for the second Community Action Weekend.

On Saturday the school was buzzing with activity – several rooms, which will be used as exhibition space for the arts fair next month, were given some tlc by volunteers.

Margaret, Maureen and Lily

Margaret, Maureen and Lily

The first two volunteers to come through the door were Maureen Lynas, from Saltburn, and Margaret Guy-Jobson from Stokesley. They spent a good few hours scraping the old blue paint off the walls of one of the rooms, ready for a new lick of paint. They were helped by eight-year-old Lily Hesse, from Saltburn.

Across the hall James Beighton and Emily Hesse did their best to scrub the glue off the floor of the new drama rehearsal space.

Emily Hesse and James Beighton

Emily Hesse and James Beighton

At midday Stuart Boulton, a photographer from The Northern Echo, came in to take a few shots for an article about The Saltburn School.

Later in the day Daz and Lynne Naylor, a couple from Saltburn, came in to help. Lynne helped scrape the walls and Daz filled in the holes in the hallway walls with plaster.

Meanwhile Wendy Walker and Paul Clews, who own Peeling Paint, a hand painted furniture business, were hard at work in their new residency space in of the building’s wings. They are currently repainting some old cabinets that were found in one of the former classrooms. The cabinets, which will be painted grey and blue, will be used in the new cafe. The cabinets will be ‘distressed’ so that bits of the original red colour can be seen peeping through, harking back to the past.

Cabinets being prepared by Peeling Paint.

Cabinets being prepared by Peeling Paint.

On Sunday we had the help of the probation team, who lifted up the concrete paving slabs from the front left of the building, revealing the earth underneath. A community herb garden will be planted there in the coming months. The team also dug up weeds from the flowerbeds. Thanks boys!

A lot of work was done in the afternoon by various members of the public who came in for the odd hour here and there. Cleaning, sweeping, sanding – many jobs!

Shane, Tilly and Max Wreford-Sinnott

Shane, Tilly and Max Wreford-Sinnott

Shane Wreford-Sinnott and his daughter Tilly Wreford-Sinnott, 8, and son Max Wreford-Sinnott, 13, did a grand job scrubbing the glue off the floor in the new drama rehearsal space in the afternoon, staying for a good few hours.

Thanks to everyone who helped out. Game, Set, Match.