Carol Bell, Mercedes Broadbent and Nancy Doyle-Hall join the board of The Common Room, which is leading the redevelopment of the Grade II* listed Neville Hall – formerly the headquarters of The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers.

Ngunan Adamu and Norma Gregory have been appointed as consultants specialising in diversity and inclusion in heritage, and will help shape The Common Room’s events programme and work with schools, colleges and universities.

Liz Mayes, Chief Executive of The Common Room, said: “Carol, Mercedes and Nancy each bring with them valuable experience as leaders in different sectors, and Ngunan and Norma have joined us to share their considerable expertise in heritage and storytelling.

“The whole team at The Common Room has a commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity and our Board and consultants will help bring this to bear on our operations in the coming years, supporting us to be a leader in this field.”

Neville Hall, which was built between 1869 and 1872, is due to reopen in spring 2021 as The Common Room, celebrating the North East’s engineering heritage, providing spaces for hire, and a programme of events to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers.

Carol Bell is an established and experienced leader in the public and voluntary sector who has commissioned and delivered large scale, innovative cultural programmes, including the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018.

Mercedes Broadbent is Policy, Communications and Political Lead at Managers in Partnership (MiP), the trade union for senior health and care managers. Prior to this Mercedes held roles in public policy and campaigning.

Nancy Doyle-Hall is Executive Director of the Virgin Money Foundation with a wide range of board expertise and a strong understanding of the fundraising environment within which The Common Room will operate.

Ngunan Adamu is a journalist and multi award-winning social entrepreneur, skilled in working with diverse audiences and communities.

Norma Gregory is a historian and heritage consultant, specialising in the African Caribbean experience in the UK and sharing hidden and undocumented histories through creative digital projects, exhibitions, online media and digital arts production.

Liz Mayes added: “The breadth of experience that our new team members have will help The Common Room to play a central role in the North East’s economic recovery from COVID-19, as well as supporting the region’s skills agenda by providing a place where all children and young people can learn about, and feel included in, the history and future of innovation and engineering.”

In November 2016 the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded £600,000 to The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers to undertake an extensive development phase. In July 2018, The Common Room of the Great North was awarded £4.1m by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to revitalise the Grade II* listed Mining Institute, transforming it into The Common Room.

The Common Room has recently received an additional grant of £170,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund Emergency Grant Scheme, set up to support organisations through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about The Common Room at 

Notes to editors

About The Common Room

The Common Room of the Great North was established in 2017 to manage the redevelopment and refurbishment of The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. The Common Room of the Great North was awarded £4.1m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, plus a further £3m in match funding, to conserve the Grade II* listed building, refurbish its ground floor reading rooms, securely house its archive and collections. The Common Room of the Great North is a registered charity, number 1175946.