Cestria Community Housing

Creating safe, happy and vibrant communities

Cestria formed a unique partnership with Foundation of Light in 2008 with the aim of reducing anti-social behaviour and crime in the Chester-le-Street area while also tackling health, education and unemployment issues within the local community.

Launched by former Sunderland AFC Chairman Niall Quinn, the Chester-le-Street Kicks initiative was set up to engage young people in estates identified as hotspot areas through a range of healthy and constructive activities.

Funded by Cestria, and developed from a derelict unit in a once rundown shopping centre in the Gibside estate, the Cestria Centre of Light offers youngsters aged 13-19 a place to socialise and relax in a safe and positive environment.

Foundation Light's award-winning Family Learning through Football programme is delivered as part of the project in partnership with local schools, alongside Back in the Game employability and Back on Track study courses.

Community-based initiatives such as health workshops and a steering group have also been introduced to include representatives from agencies such as the Police, Schools, District Council and Youth Offending Team.

Their commitment to tackling and overcoming many of the issues affecting the Chester-le-Street area saw Cestria scoop the Outstanding Partner Support award at the prestigious 2011 Kicks Awards and the National Housing Federation's Best Partnership Working prize at the What We Are Proud Of Awards 2011.


Our mission is about investing in homes and communities and one of the ways in which we want to achieve that is by working with someone like Foundation of Light who have a track record of working with communities.

Both Cestria and Foundation of Light are committed to a long-term partnership, and we firmly believe there will be more success in the future.

Martin Warhurst, Managing Director Cestria Community Housing

Our Principal Partners