Our Work in South Tyneside

Our Work in South Tyneside

The Customs House’s vision of ‘Arts and Entertainment for All’ includes supporting people to take part in arts and cultural activities and events. Projects for all ages take place in our building, around South Tyneside and across the North East.

The Customs House has enriched and changed the lives of thousands in our communities through our programmes of work. The Learning and Participation team introduce people in South Tyneside to new artistic and cultural opportunities. We also support young people’s artistic development as young creatives and leaders in South Tyneside and the surrounding area. Our talent development work is described as ‘exemplary’ by Arts Council England. We work with professional, emerging and beginner artists on our projects, both as facilitators and participants.

How We Engage Children and Young People in South Tyneside and Beyone

The Learning and Participation Team work across South Tyneside and the North East helping young people take part in high quality arts experiences. In 2017 we worked with approximately 24,000 young people. These experiences are often inspired by our artistic programming in the theatre, gallery and cinema and many include the chance for young people to acheive Arts Award (a nationally recognised qualification). We develop young people’s creative skills, raise their aspirations and help them feel connected from 5 to 25 years.

We work with young people through:
Schools’ workshops and exhibitions;
• Projects with community groups in our building (The Treasure Group) and in community venues (Apna Ghar);
• Three highly acclaimed Youth Theatre Groups here at The Customs House and at Jarrow School;
Mini Makers creative sessions for children 11 and under with their grown ups ran by artist Elizabeth Kane on behalf of The Customs House;
• The Takeover Youth Arts Festival (which included The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize, Mean Teens Breakdance Jam and much more);
Pulse a regional dance platform which is part of U Dance.

How we Engage Adults

We also work with adults. We can help you find something that suits your interest and experience by:
• Signposting adults to regular community groups here at the Customs House;
• Sharing opportunities to take part with The Cultural Spring;
• Offering training for adults who work with children and young people (Teacher CPD events and Arts Award Adviser Training).

Our Partners

Our work with local communities is only possible thanks to regional and national partnerships. These partnerships include strategic work on the Arts Award with Culture Bridge North East; the Arts in Libraries programme at The Word for South Tyneside Council; and The Cultural Spring with Sunderland MAC Trust, University of Sunderland and Sangini.

The Customs House is proud to be an Artsmark Partner organisation.The Artsmark Partnership Programme is an Arts Council England endorsed network of arts and cultural organisations that can support education settings on their Artsmark journey to embed arts and culture across the curriculum.

Partners who have generously funded our work include: South Tyneside Council, Arts Council England, Port of Tyne, Intu, Scottish Power Foundation, The Hays Travel Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Youth Music, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, The Children’s Foundation, The Rotary Club of Jarrow with Harton, Barbour Foundation and the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.


Cultural life is at the heart of South Tyneside Council’s strategy to enhance the wellbeing and prosperity of the Borough and improve the lives of its residents. By using culture as a catalyst, South Tyneside are delivering real change in South Tyneside. Not only is culture helping to regenerate the Borough and safeguard the 3,500 jobs reliant on tourism, it is also showing how it can make a tangible difference to people’s lives.

South Tyneside Council