Our Projects


Focusing on local community groups of all ages, The Auckland Project offers exciting ways to understand and engage with heritage, and explore how it can develop interests and skill sets. All participating groups have the opportunity to work with the charity’s Community Outreach Officer to design and facilitate their own projects and the results are as creative and varied as the people we work with. Recent activities have included cultural day trips, event organising, employability projects and camping weekends, with some highlights detailed below.

Stepping Stones to Employment 

The Auckland Project is now partnering with social housing provider, Dale & Valley Homes, to help ensure people have the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workplace. The Stepping Stones to Improve Employability Project, funded by NE Procurement, is targeted specifically at those experiencing long term unemployment or lacking in the experience and self-assurance to find, and thrive in, voluntary or paid employment.  The travel-themed course uses various activities, including budgeting and itinerary planning, to help overcome these obstacles. Courses run from January 2017 and anyone interested should contact Kimberley Batey at Dale & Valley Homes on 0746 940 2619 or 01388 770974 or email k.batey@daleandvalleyhomes.co.uk.

For more information, please contact Alison Tweddle on 01388 743034 or email: Alison.tweddle@aucklandproject.org

Youth Camp

Every year, in partnership with local youth groups, Auckland Castle hosts a two-night camp, where young people from all over the region can come together and enjoy an action-packed experience. The camp pulls together an array of local talent for exciting workshops, including Jack Drum Arts, Thrills and Skills and sports instructors. There are also fun sessions based on the stories of Auckland Castle, which really bring the history of this grand setting to life. The camp has an overarching Christian ethos and all youth groups in the Bishop Auckland area are welcome to attend.

Confidence in Me

Confidence in Me was launched in partnership with St Johns Youthy, Shildon in 2016. Participants are encouraged to train as tour guides, design their own tours and prepare activity days, in order to build their confidence and help them prepare for further education or employment. In 2017, the group’s packed itinerary includes sessions led by career advisory expert, Tom Davie, trips to a number of university and college open days and the chance to meet professionals from a variety of backgrounds to learn more about their work.

Jack Drum Arts Summer School

In August 2016, more than 40 young people and volunteers joined forces for the Jack Drum Arts Summer School at Auckland Castle. The group spent five days exploring the history of the Prince Bishops and creating short scenes about their favourite events and characters. At the end of the week, the participants staged a 45-minute play, including a dramatisation of the relationship between Bishop Bek and King Edward, a song about Bishop Flambard and a re-enactment of the Harrying of the North. Many of those taking part completed an Arts Award, with 29 achieving Discover Level and three Explore Level. The Summer School was run through a community partnership between Jack Drum Arts and Auckland Castle and was funded through Auckland Castle’s HLF Activity Plan and Jack Drum Arts. As part of its match funding, Jack Drum Arts commissioned a short film which can be viewed here 

Heritage Hunters

The Heritage Hunters are a group of young people from Woodhouse Close who are working with Auckland Castle in partnership with Investors in Children. In 2016 the group successfully completed their “Young Roots” programme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which encouraged them to act as tour guides at Auckland Castle in an effort to engage with local heritage. In recognition of this hard work the Heritage Hunters were shortlisted in the Best Young Persons Contribution to Heritage category at the Historic England Angels Awards and beat off stiff competition to be named runners-up.  Since being involved in the Heritage Hunters project, 16 year-old John Robinson, has also begun working with The Auckland Project’s grounds team and now spends two days a week helping our award-winning Park Ranger, Alan Anderson, to maintain the Castle grounds. Watch a short video about Heritage Hunters here.

Want to know more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter