Sound Hub secures funding for 2 years!

The Activity Den in Stanley has secured a significant amount of funding for the continuation of its successful music project, Stanley Sound Hub. The funding has been awarded from UK-wide music charity Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation and locally-based County Durham Community Foundation, following a successful bid application. This amazing contribution will mean that the Sound Hub Project can continue its great work for the next two years.

Stanley Sound Hub was set up to provide expert music tuition to young people in Stanley at a subsidised cost. The project provides access to instruments, with drum and guitar tutors providing high-quality teaching and mentoring to the Sound Hub’s young members every Saturday morning. A key aim of the project is to ensure that cost of lessons and equipment does not prevent young people in the local area accessing the benefits that music can bring.

Since being set-up in 2017, Sound Hub Project has also included the opportunity for young people to perform their skills to live audience. A number of live gig nights, both at The Activity Den and further afield, have seen the Sound Hub Members show off their musical skills to packed audiences – building self-confidence and social networks between the young people.

Earlier this year, BBC North East and Cumbria reported on the project, interviewing the young members about how much the project meant to them.

The Project’s music tutor, Shaun Henderson, says, “This funding creates a wonderful opportunity to provide these young people, who are just bursting with potential, with inspiration through first rate tutors and musicians from across the North-East. As the children improve their instrumental and musical skills they also develop communication, confidence and essential people skills.”

Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation says, “We are delighted to help funding the Stanley  Sound Hub project at The Activity Den for the next two years. Access to music education is at the core if what we do and often it is comprised by the geographical location. By supporting this programme we would like to encourage the young aspiring musicians of Stanley and County Durham in their musical journey. Every Saturday they will have the chance to have guitar and drums lessons at a reduced cost by some of the top professionals. We hope this award will help in the reviving of the music scene in the area.”

The Den are extremely grateful to Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation and County Durham Community Foundation for their financial support and are looking forward to seeing the progression of our members over the next few years as a direct result of this contribution.

Stanley Sound Hub is on every Saturday morning at The Activity Den, Tanfield Lea from 10am to 12pm, for young people aged 10 and up. No musical experience is necessary. For more information about the project, contact us on Facebook, Twitter or at

Young Achievers’ Night

On December 7th, Stanley Area Youth Consortium hosted it’s Young Achievers’ Night

On Friday 7th December, The Den hosted Stanley Youth Area Consortium’s Young Achievers’ night.

Oxhill Youth Club, STARS, Stanley Young People’s Club and The Den, with essential support from the AAP, came together to celebrate the achievements of young people in the local area. 

We had a fantastic night with both group and individual certificates handed out to over 40 young people. Even the entertainment was provided by our  young people, with the Sound Hub Musicians providing performing a great set to their peers. 

Thank you to everyone that came along, and a massive congratulations to everyone that picked up a certificate for their achievements! 

Paranormal Investigation Evening

On Friday 12th October, leading North East Paranomal Investigators, Spectre Detectors, will be hosting an other-wordly investigation in our amazing building!

Using the latest detection and communication equipment, they will help us get in contact with spirits linked to The Den – an ideal event for over 18s in the run up to Halloween!

Check out the article in The Chronicle about the event….

Tickets are £25 and booking is essential – call 01207 230213 or email to secure your space!

The Den Gets Volunteering Kite Mark

The Den is very proud to have recently been awarded the County Durham Volunteering Kite Mark.

As outlined in Durham Community Action‘s article (link below), the Volunteering Kite Mark means that The Activity Den demonstrates that it meets standards to overcome barriers to volunteering, and recognises the value of recruiting and retaining volunteers. The Kite Mark shows an organisation manages a volunteering programme where volunteers receive a high quality, positive volunteering experience.  Durham Community Action state that “It will support volunteers to make informed choices when they apply to volunteer.  The Activity Den actively encourages the young people who have benefitted from their programmes to get involved.”

This is a great achievement for The Den as it recognises how seriously we take our volunteer programme and how much we value those that help our organisation in their free time. We have a fantastic bunch of volunteers and are always looking for more people that would like to get involved! For more info on how you could join the team email

Read the full article here –


Happy 30th Birthday Stanley Woodies!

Stanley Woodcraft Folk, based in The Den, are 30 years old this year! To celebrate this awesome birthday, they’ve had a year jammed packed with events! This highlight of the year has to be the Woodies Summer Camp which took place a few weeks ago, in the beautiful Budle Bay in Northumberland.

Camp was a week long with endless activities to keep our young people entertained! From campfires and marshmallows to swimming and talent shows, boat trips and rock painting to water slides and film nights, the fun never stopped! Of course all camp residents have to do their Clan Duties – where each team take it in turns to prepare food for camp and do the washing up – but mostly there was lots of laughs and games.

Woodies couldn’t have done it without the volunteers that organise, set up and manage the camp as well as the parents that come along and help to coordinate. A massive thank you to everyone involved – can’t wait for next year!

Check out some of the awesome photos below from resident photographer Aggy…


Easter Holiday Events

The Den has some awesome family events coming up over the Easter Holidays to keep you all entertained!

After the success of our first Sound Hub Gig Night, we kicked off the Easter holidays with our ‘Last night of the drums Part 2’ event! The young people from the Sound Hub gave some fantastic performances to a packed Den audience to show off the skills they’ve learnt from the weekly music project! They also collected certificates from our Chair, Phillip Marshall, for their achievement and hard work. A big thank you to everyone that came along to support our young people!

Next up is our FREE family fun day on Wednesday 11th April. All ages are invited for a day of bouncy castles, discos, treasure hunts, facepainting and even a double decker soft play bus! Come along anytime between 11am and 4pm.

Then on Saturday 14th April, Stanley Woodcraft Folk is hosting a unique indoor stargazing experience, complete with a planetarium for star spotting in the warm! There are two public showings at 11am and 12.15pm and tickets are £3 or £10 for a family of four. Call 01207 230213 to book as spaces are limited!

Details of all our family events are on the Chronicle’s website at the link below…

Bring on 2018!

The Den had a fantastic year last year – from camping trips and bike rides, to new funding partners, music projects and discos! We completed our Disco Pod for party hire and grew our team of staff and volunteers.

It’s set us up for an exciting 2018, with Woodcraft Folk, Den Shoots, Healthy Futures and the Sound Hub all up and running again after the Christmas break. We even managed to squeeze in a Woodies trip to see 3D panto Jack and the Beanstalk at the beginning of the month.

We’re planning another Gig Night following the success of our ‘Last Night of the Drums’ event and have had some great suggestions from our young people about the types of things they’d like to do at The Den in the next few weeks and months. We’re looking forward to seeing both old and new faces and we’re excited for what 2018 might bring for us and our members!

Halloween Disco!

The Den held its community Halloween Disco on Tuesday 31st October and it was a huge success!

Our volunteers went to town with the spooky decorations and there was smoke, music, lights and ghosts. The annual free event was attended by over 150 people, with each child receiving a free hotdog, cake and drink. For only £1, you could risk your hand in the monster lucky dip for a prize!

Thank you to everyone that came along to the disco – there were some awesome costumes! – and a huge thank you to the adults and volunteers that contributed time and effort into it being such a great family event.

One of our parents Mariana said, “Fantastic party, my girls had so much fun. Thanks a lot!”

Check out our photos below…


3D Ghosts

Young Volunteer Bethany giving out freebies

Awesome dance moves!

Lucky Dip

Thank you to our funders

We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to some very important companies and organisations that have helped The Den this year. To name a few…

The County Durham Community Foundation with the David and Barbara Watson Grassroots Fund and I’Anson Family Fund, along with Stanley Area Action Partnership have made the Stanley Sound Hub Project possible and will mean that young people in Tanfield and surrounding areas can learn new musical skills and meet like-minded friends.

The South Causey Inn selected The Den as one of their ten local charities for their 10th anniversary year and have organised a number of events to raise money. Their contribution will cover the running costs of The Den, including health and safety compliance, as well as ensuring we can afford to continue to employ a Youth Worker and Den Assistant.

The Ballinger Trust has been instrumental in supporting us and other local youth groups in joining up the provision for young people in the area. They have provided expert guidance in looking towards longer term projects and funding opportunities.

Den Director Phillip Marshall raised funds for The Den and other charities by playing 100 continuous hours of snooker, and broke a Guinness World Record in the process!

Stanley Town Council contributed towards our Infinite Air trip and the Sir James Knott Trust also provided us with a kind contribution. The Hadrian Trust and the Barbour Foundation have also donated funding to support our charity and community events. The Den would not be here without the support and financial backing of these amazing organisations and we would like to say a huge thank you from all of our volunteers and members.