Smile's Community Insight Worker, Abi Olayanju recently visited The Hinge to meet up and find out more about this Bridlington-based charity whose open-door policy, has become a critical lifeline for the community, offering a non-judgmental and professional support system.

Nestled in the heart of Bridlington, a town marked by its beautiful coastlines, and significant social and financial challenges, stands The Hinge Centre. Since its inception in 2008, The Hinge has dedicated itself to uplifting the community through a comprehensive range of support services. This case study delves into the transformative role The Hinge plays in Bridlington, showcasing its commitment to fostering resilience, community spirit, and individual growth among its residents.

Bridlington, located in the East Riding area, is characterized by high levels of deprivation. According to the Office of National Statistics English Indices of Multiple Deprivation, approximately one-third of its residents live in England's most deprived areas, with about half residing in the bottom three most deprived postcodes. The Hinge Centre, with its open-door policy, has become a critical lifeline for the community, offering a non-judgmental and professional support system.

The Hinge's multifaceted approach to community support includes:

- Resettlement Services: Addressing homelessness and the risk thereof by providing information on rights and entitlements, eviction notice assistance, bond schemes, and local property findings. Key to this effort is promoting financial sustainability through budgeting help and housing welfare support.

- Community Cohesion: Through various groups, The Hinge encourages personal development, independent living skills, job application assistance, and wellbeing sessions. Its community food store and food parcel distribution further support residents' physical and socio-economic needs.

- Youth Empowerment: Engaging children and young people with after-school clubs, holiday activities, and more, The Hinge aims to offer positive developmental activities and new opportunities for children, young people, and families.In its commitment to reach more individuals, The Hinge has expanded beyond its original location on the Havenfield Estate to operate from the Crown Community Centre on Quay Road. This expansion, facilitated by the HEY Smile Foundation, has allowed The Hinge to collaborate with various agencies under one roof, enhancing its service delivery amidst the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis.

In the last 12 months, The Hinge’s support has included:

  • Over 587 people referred for social and financial care, averaging 49 per month.
  • Approximately 187 individuals supported with homelessness issues, about 15 per month.
  • 165 Individuals have accessed Community Food Store & Waste Not Wednesday, with 1286 attendances. Also distributing 980 food parcels, equating to 82 parcels per month.

Lunch club meeting at the Hinge

A compelling illustration of The Hinge's impact is seen in Darrell's story. After suffering a stroke and becoming homeless, Darrell received life-changing support from The Hinge, including housing, household items, and a sense of community through the men's "meet and eat" group. His story highlights the Centre's role in providing not just material support but also emotional well-being and social integration.

“I was homeless and had no income and no money. The Hinge helped me basically by caring about what I've gone through. I also had dinner time with the boys. Yeah, that is a good therapy. Really good therapy. The food is exceptional. It's hard without having help like this place.”

The Hinge Centre logo

To further enhance the great work ongoing within The Hinge, the Community Action Grant, a grant managed by HEY Smile Foundation, was applied for and approved to assist the residents with the cost-of-living challenges.

The East Riding Community Action Grant has significantly contributed to The Hinge's ability to meet the community's needs, especially in addressing the cost-of-living challenges. This grant has enabled The Hinge to enhance its services, promoting emotional, financial, and social resilience among residents, reducing social isolation, and fostering community connections.

The Hinge Centre exemplifies the power of community-centric initiatives in addressing complex social issues. Providing holistic support services, not only assists individuals and families in immediate need but also works towards breaking the cycle of poverty and discrimination. Bridlington's story, particularly through the lens of The Hinge, is one of hope, resilience, and the enduring spirit of community solidarity.

Do you have a community story to share?

There's so much amazing work going on across the East Riding organised by amazing grassroots volunteer-led groups It's important to spread the word about the brilliant things going on in our communities to inspire others to do the same and to celebrate how special these groups are to the communities that they support.

If you do have a story, Abi would love to meet you. To contact Abi, send through an email to:


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