Just a year after a derelict Consett pub was lovingly transformed into a valuable community asset, the future is looking good for those people who rely on its facilities.
Nicola Jayne Little, founder of the Mint Business Club, envisioned a new purpose for the Braes Hotel in Consett. Now known as The HUB, Consett, the building has undergone a remarkable transformation, offering a range of facilities including a shop, workshops, and office spaces. In addition, it serves as a vibrant community hub for individuals with ADHD.
Since its opening, The HUB, Consett has become a welcome fixture within the local community. Regular patrons fondly reminisce about the building’s past, sharing stories of their visits to the former pub. Several visitors have even discovered personal connections, with some families having owned and operated the establishment during the 1980s. Nostalgic photographs adorn the walls, capturing the building’s rich history.
The Commercial Hotel, as it was originally known, held a significant role in the town’s heritage from 1837 to 1960. Later, it underwent a name change to the Braes Hotel until its recent revitalisation. As the first building in Consett to offer running water, it served as accommodation for individuals connected to the Consett Steel Works.
Over the past 12 months, The HUB, Consett has undergone an extensive renovation, with an investment of £50,000. The project received support from Durham County Council, which granted funding for essential exterior upgrades, including new windows, render, paint, and guttering. Notably, a talented local artist, Jordan Stead has contributed a captivating mural on the shutter, depicting the building’s appearance in the 1900s.
The building now serves both the community and the business sector, operating under the social enterprise, Celebrate Difference Ltd. The top floor, once a flat and office space, has been thoughtfully redesigned to house five offices, a training suite, a media room, a small private meeting room, and a well-appointed kitchen and bathroom.
Indeed, the news about Celebrate Difference’s success has reached a number of influential people including Dr Tony Lloyd from the ADHD Foundation who visited the premises and talked to the 50 people in attendance.
“This was a tremendous event, and we were honoured that Dr Lloyd gave up his time to travel from Liverpool to talk to us. He told us about his work with the Government to address ADHD issues and it gave us all a lot of reassurance that we all have a voice,” said Nicola. “We’ve also hosted an event where local celebrity Alfie Joey delivered some training to our members which also helped to put our facilities on the map.”
The HUB, Consett has also fostered numerous partnerships with local businesses, which utilise the space on a weekly basis. Notable collaborators include Durham Enable, Durham Works, and Villa Real, a local special education needs school. In addition to providing valuable resources and opportunities, The HUB, Consett also welcomes the community for daily shopping experiences.