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Bingo as brothers bring neglected Walker building back to life

A neglected building, which once brought Hollywood glamour to Tyneside, is to be restored to its former glory by two enterprising brothers.

The Welbeck bingo hall, at Scrogg Road, Walker, was originally one of Newcastle’s finest playhouses, attracting film and variety show audiences of up to 800 in its 1930s heyday – but has stood empty since closing its doors for the last time one year ago.

Now, thanks to Paul and David Weild, both from Walker, the art deco building is undergoing a major refurbishment and will re-open next month (November) as a major conference and event venue called the NE6 Suite.

Work has already begun to transform the interior, which still houses much of the original tiered cinema seating, into a series of versatile spaces which can be hired for social and corporate events, celebrations and exhibitions.

Along with a large ballroom, the venue, which can accommodate up to 800 people, offers a balcony area and two bars, all of which are being refurbished in the first wave of a rolling programme of renovations.

“The building is an absolute gem,” said Paul, 30, who has worked for some of the UK’s major hotel chains during a 15-year career in the hospitality industry. “For decades it was the glittering heart of the community at Walker and we very much hope that it will be again.

“We grew up here and it’s been heart-breaking seeing a building, which bought so much pleasure to so many people for so long, falling into disrepair – especially when is has so much untapped potential.”

The brothers hope the venue, which takes its new name from its postcode, will attract bookings from local residents celebrating weddings, birthdays and anniversaries as well as from businesses in search of competitively priced and versatile meeting and conference facilities.

Not only have the brothers sourced services and supplies from local companies but they aim to provide up to eight full and part time jobs when the NE6 Suite opens.

David, 36, said: “It’s very important to us that this regeneration project benefits the community it has always and will continue to serve.”

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