A TYNEDALE attraction is looking forward to its future as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Allendale Forge Studios is a Community Interest Company, originally created in 2007 with grant funding.

Since 2015, it has been run entirely by volunteers.

Their facilities include a café, shop, art gallery, workshop space, and studios.

Those wishing to sell their products in the gift shop pay a rent for their space, and then they also volunteer for one or two days to run the shop.

And current studio holders include a ceramics artist, jeweller, graphic designer, abstract artist, producer of sheepskins and accessories, podiatrist and a bicycle repair specialist.

Zoe Bell, one of the Directors at the Forge, said: “They’re a really good bunch and everybody wants to be involved which is really lovely.

“It’s a nice feel.”

Studio holder Lindsey Robertson, who runs Northflock which produces sheepskins and accessories, added: “Everybody’s very supportive, and wants to help.”

Zoe, as well as being one of the Directors, also runs the Allendale Forge Café.

“We’ve been incredibly lucky that since we reopened, we’ve been unbelievably busy,” she said.

In addition to their loyal customers, Zoe credits this with the large amount of tourists in the area recently.

“It’s almost going to work to our advantage the fact that you can’t get abroad very easy.”

Allendale Forge Studios had a programme of workshops, such as jewellery making, but when the pandemic hit, they all had to be cancelled.

And now as restrictions are lifted, they hope to re-establish this programme of events and workshops.

Zoe added: “We hope to get talks going.

“We’re kind of aiming for one a month, on a Friday night, get a glass of Prosecco, maybe nibbles, just getting people out.”

Monthly exhibitions are held in the Gallery, and this month they have “Treasured Memories” by Alison Diamond-Rogers.

Zoe said they are fully booked for the next 18 months.

Allendale Forge Studios, as part of their commitment to the local community, also support activities such as hosting an art exhibition made by pupils at Allendale Primary School.

They also host a ladies’ craft session on Thursday’s, whose donations help fund their programme of community projects.

Celia Carrington, Chair of Allendale Forge Studios, said: “The previous chair and the board had spent a really good time getting it [the Forge] stabilised because when you start with an organisation like this, you get grant funding and then it disappears, and it’s really hard work getting it to where it’s stable.

“And then Covid hit, so any future plans all had to be put on hold.

"But now it’s time where we can start to think about making links with other organisations, drawing the volunteers in, and thinking about what more we can do in the community.

“It is already a big community asset but I think it can become even stronger, and also really financially stable.”

The Forge is open seven days a week.

Allendale Forge Studios are looking for new volunteers and board members, and ask people to get in touch if they are interested.