In the late 1960’s a number of Newcastle University students got together to form a society which later became a full Sub Council of Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU). Their aim was to become positively involved in the local community. There were similar groups at universities throughout the UK which coined the term “Student Community Action” (SCA). Thus, Newcastle’s group became known as “SCAN”. Soon after, Community Programme Workers were seconded to the project for short periods. In 1973 SCAN became registered as a Charity in its own right, and the first full time worker was appointed.
SCAN was established with the following charitable aims and objectives:
“To promote any charitable purpose for the benefit of the community in the North East area. In particular, the advancement of education and relief of poverty, distress and sickness.”
The University gave free office space in the Claremont Building until 1988. SCAN then moved to 103 Percy Street (the University Development Trust had planned to demolish The Claremont building).
In January 1991 SCAN appointed Bob Milan as part-time, temporary co-ordinator for a period of 6 months. Relationships between SCAN and the Union were not good and it was part of Bob’s job to restore a good relationship. The SCAN office was a mess and at that time there were only a couple of projects, no transport and SCAN had just received a grant to purchase a ball pool. Within 4 months Bob had managed to restore a withdrawn Students' Union grant, purchase a new minibus and trailer, refurbish the office and help set up the “Inflatables Project” which still runs successfully to this day. Bob’s improvements meant that his job was made into a full-time, permanent position. This was great news for the future of SCAN.
In 1992 SCAN started its most ambitious project; “Rupert's Wood”. This is a private wood owned by Lord Rupert Redesdale and is situated just north of Otterburn. SCAN volunteers have undertaken many projects within the woodland in the last 13 years. These activities range from improving accessibility and safety within the woodland, including the construction of a boardwalk to allow access for disabled users and now Summer Camps.
During 1993 Bob was contacted by Sister Christine Charlwood from the Walker area. Subsequently, with much hard work, “Kids Kabin” took off (which had initially been run in a nun’s sitting room!). Bob had suggested that a Public Works Depot next door would be a good site for an Arts Centre for Kids Kabin. This, along with a shop premises, was acquired and converted to provide craft activities. In 1998 Kids Kabin was awarded the “Whitbread NE Volunteer Project of the Year”. Sister Christine and Bob were presented with the award by HRH Princess Michael of Kent and Home Office Minister Paul Boateng at the national awards in London. The project has gone from strength to strength. In April 2002 Kids Kabin moved into a new, purpose built Arts Centre.
In December 1999 SCAN was successful in an application to the Department of Education to run a Millennium Volunteers Programme. This allowed SCAN to employ two additional members of staff.
In May 2003 SCAN was able to relocate to the heart of the Students' Union with aid of a HEACF (Higher Education Active Community Fund) grant.
SCAN helps young people to find volunteering opportunities throughout Newcastle and the North East.
We now have over 3200 members (mainly students at Newcastle University looking to volunteer) and have over 200 volunteer opportunities in a range of areas.
We run our own, youth-led projects that target direct community needs and student development.
We work with lots of external organisations to give students as much choice as possible and allow various community groups to have access to their broad range of skills and knowledge.
SCAN is a GoldStar Exemplar project recognised by the the Office of the Third Sector for their good practice..
We are currently match funded by Access to Nature and NUSU.
Terry Ryall, v Chief Executive, said: “v is delighted to be able to provide financial support to SCAN through our Match Fund programme for this project which will inspire young people to volunteer in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.”