The past we inherit, the future we build – an ethos that drives the ambitious regeneration of Durham’s iconic Redhills building and one which also encompasses the beliefs of Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association.
Nick, 38, is CEO of Redhills: Durham Miners Hall, the landmark Grade II listed building that was for decades the Pitman’s Parliament – the democratic heart of the Durham coalfield.
Now being transformed into a sustainable centre for culture and community, it will offer conferencing facilities during the week and a place for live music, performance, arts and a host of community groups during evenings and weekends.
“I’m delighted to have been asked to join the board because I see DAMHA in very much in the same light as Redhills and the miners gala, a profound example of how the people of the Durham coalfield came together to produce something of lasting benefit to their community,” said Nick.
“DAMHA has a bricks and mortar presence in many of the former Durham coalfield villages and towns. Those homes are a vital part of our heritage and continue to make a tangible difference to the quality of life for many people both now and in the future.”
Nick’s family have lived around the city of Durham for generations and both his grandfathers worked as miners. Family stories passed down tell of how they moved from cramped, slum housing to new council houses on the Sherburn Road Estate with indoor plumbing and the great sense of pride they had in maintaining their home.
“There is nothing more fundamental to community than good quality, affordable housing where families can feel safe and warm and live with dignity,” said Nick. “DAMHA provides that and what is exciting is the programme of decarbonisation that will ensure they continue to deliver through this century and into the next.”
Nick became interested in social re-generation not only through his own family history but also his own frustrating experience as a teenaged drummer trying to find a place for his band to play.
“I realised it’s often about adapting what you have. So, if you don’t have a purpose-built concert hall for bands to play you just need adults to provide a community space like a village or church hall where people can express themselves,” said Nick. “The North-East is very good at making the best with the resources it has.”
His degree in Sociology and Cultural Services from Manchester Met included a housing module and as part of his MA at Liverpool University he worked on the city’s European Capital of Culture bid which gave further insight into how culture can play a significant part in regeneration.
Outside of work Nick enjoys travelling and visiting art galleries and museums with his wife Anneka. For their honeymoon last year they visited the national parks and coastline of the US Pacific coast and they’d like to go back to do the same for New England and the East Coast.
Meanwhile, he’s looking forward to completing the regeneration of Redhills and joining the board of DAMHA.
“I can definitely see mutual benefit in both roles,” he said. “The opportunity to spend time and energy helping to continue the fine tradition of DAMHA in providing affordable homes for the people of Durham is a privilege.”