Two ladies ball room dancing.
Dancing is a popular activity at the Easington Welfare Centre in County Durham. © Creative Lives
Dancing is a popular activity at the Easington Welfare Centre in County Durham. © Creative Lives

Northern Souls – Down The Welly

A new project funded by Historic England has captured the fond memories of a well-loved social club in the former mining village of Easington in County Durham.

Easington Welfare Centre, or ‘The Welly’ as it is affectionately known to the residents of Peterlee in Country Durham, has long been a hub of creativity and social interaction. Providing a distraction from the stresses of pit closures, the Centre offered friendship and support when needed most. Thirty years later, The Welly is still at the heart of the local community, with regular events and activities drawing people through its doors.

A partnership between Creative Lives and BBC Radio Tees, and funded by Historic England, 'Northern Souls – Going Down The Welly’ reveals personal stories about the social club over the past 60 years, as well as highlighting its importance as a local venue today.

Producer Rachel Teate spoke to 12 Easington locals about their relationship with The Welly, from those who knew it as children to volunteers who ensure its continued survival. The interviews, available on BBC Sounds, demonstrate how the Centre played a key role in Easington’s history, capturing the fun and creativity to be found at weekly sessions held at The Welly today such as ‘Knit and Natter’.

'Northern Souls – Going Down The Welly’ is one of 57 projects that Historic England is funding through its 'Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories' programme. These projects reveal and celebrate fascinating untold stories from across England.

These personal and touching stories reveal the vital role that The Welly has played in Easington for many decades, forming the beating heart of the local community and often acting as a lifeline for many in times of financial hardship, loneliness and grief. I’m delighted we’ve been able to play a role in bringing the history of this venue to life through our Everyday Heritage Grants programme.

Sean Curran, Head of Inclusion Historic England

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