West End Women and Girls Centre in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne occupies a converted public library dating from 1895 which was refurbished in 2 phases. The centre is the only “women only” centre in the North East and houses a range of services for women and girls including ESOL classes, after school homework clubs and breakfast drop-in sessions.
Security for the users was of prime importance and the design incorporates a secure entrance foyer which acts as a control point preventing unauthorised access to the building. A new lightweight timber clad extension was built at first floor level above an existing single storey wing – this accommodation allowed the activities to continue at the centre throughout the second stage of the building work – continuity of operation was vital to the client and the users.
The former reading room on the first floor has been converted into a multi-functional space with theatre lighting and sound system enabling drama and music productions to take place. A combined training and commercial kitchen provides space for life skills classes as well as catering for events.
The striking interior design of white, green & purple is based on the Suffragette movement colour scheme, it is used to great effect throughout the building.