A Little Bit More About Us

With a Big Lottery grant from Local Trust of £1,000,000 over a ten year period, and lots of energy and commitment from us all, we're seeing local people and organisations increasingly pulling together to make a lasting change to Whitley Bay.

In March 2017 Whitley Bay Big Local became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registered Charity No 1171848) with a Board of Trustees made up of local residents and others from the Whitley Bay area.

What is Big Local?

Big Local is an exciting opportunity for residents in each 150 areas around England to use at least £1m each to make a massive and lasting positive difference in their communities. Big Local brings together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.

What's it not about?

It's not about local authorities, the government or national organisation telling people what to do. It's not about individual groups fixing their favourite problem without talking to a wide range of different people who live, socialise and work in the community. It's not about short-term thinking - Big Local areas have 10 years or more to plan and deliver the best options for their area.



There were plenty of fantastic people helping the town long before Big Local came along, and there still are. Here are some of the people involved in delivering Whitley Bay Big Local. 

Jess Profile

Jess Burns

"I’'m  Jess, a local resident in the WBBL area, I'm chair of the Whitley Bay Big Local because I really care about the town I come from.  "

Helen Profile

Helen Frankenburg

"A local resident who cares passionately about the place that I live and getting involved with community projects. I'm chair of the Environment theme group. "

Michael Profile

Simon Underwood

"I’m a Big Local rep and professional advisor allocated by Local Trust to work with and support Whitley Bay's Big Local."


Reverend Alan Dickinson

Reverend Alan Dickinson is a non-resident board member of Whitley Bay Big Local, but has worked extensively for the last 15 years within the WBBL area, working alongside many social action projects. Alan is passionate and committed to seeing continued transformation of the Whitley Bay area, working towards making an improved environment for the community to live and work in.


John O'Shea

"I am a local councillor for the Whitley Bay ward and I really want to help and support the Whitley Bay Big Local.

Susanne Profile

Sarah Clough

"I'm a local resident, treasurer of the Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade and chair of Rockliffe first school's PTA. I'm part of WBBL because I just love Whitley Bay!"

Sarah Profile

Sarah Sutton

"I count myself so lucky to live in Whitley Bay with my family.  I'm passionate about the place and its people, so the role of Community Involvement Coordinator is my dream role...meeting more people and helping them link up to make Whitley Bay a stronger, friendlier place to be."

Lady 1 Profile

Suzanne Halliwell

"Hi, I'm Suzanne and I'm a resident board member. I'm not originally from the north east but having lived in Whitley Bay for 13 years, I feel this is my adopted home.  I have young children who also go to school in Whitley Bay. I'm interested in making sure anyone who lives or works or visits Whitley Bay has a place and feels like they belong, regardless of where they might have originally come from or how much money they have."

Dan Profile

Ray Profile

Jamie Profile

Jamie Spence

"I'm contracted to work for 3 days per week with Whitley Bay Big Local. My role is to support The Board and Volunteers to deliver projects, activities and contracts. I have a background in managing services and projects in the not-for-profit sector, working in voluntary roles with charities and am a Director of a small business."


Dimitris Farmakis

I am Dimitris (Dimi) Farmakis, a newcomer to the North East and really enjoy living here; both people and sceneries are superb! I am a WBBL resident and quite passionate about it, this is why I got involved (in the wellbeing theme group) and my motto is: let’s “blossom the coast”. With regards to my occupation, I have always been involved in the financial services sector (ex-banker in Greece), now working as a Senior Portfolio Manager at Homes and Communities Agency, a public sector national agency with a vision for successful places with homes and jobs.