Architect sets out vision for Lincs Inspire

Inspire Blog |

Mark Hodson has spent much of his working life designing visionary public and private buildings as an award-winning architect and director of Hodson Architects, based in Cleethorpes.

Now, as a new board member for Lincs Inspire, he also has his sights set on helping to grow the North East Lincolnshire based charitable trust, where he is thrilled to be able to combine his business expertise along with his passion for sport, drama and art.

Mark Hodson Photo Web 2

Born on the Nunsthorpe, Mark is proud of his local roots. In his own humble words Mark professes to be, “a local lad that’s gone away, learnt a bit, and has skills to share”.

Lincs Inspire was established in 2015 and is responsible for managing a host of leisure, sports, cultural and library services on behalf of local authorities, including North East Lincolnshire Council.

The goal, as the name implies, is to inspire people to lead more active and healthy lives.

Mark is delighted to be joining Lincs Inspire’s board of trustees at a time when, he considers, there isn’t a more relevant organisation dealing as it does with sport, leisure and culture in a post-pandemic environment, being invaluable in preserving people's mental and physical wellbeing. Mark explains:

We have all awakened to the importance of our own health and wellbeing with issues concerning mental health being more important than ever.

What I’d like to do is to help raise Lincs Inspire’s profile and encourage people to help themselves through cultural pursuits, sport, leisure, whatever it may be.

Mark Hodson Lincs Inspire Board Member

Having a passion for drama at school and enjoying sport from an early age, spending many hours and days in Grimsby Swimming Pool - ‘Scaffa Baths’ - Mark firmly believes that buildings have a peculiar strength in linking memories and current situations together.

“The function of a building, how it is used, the fond memories that buildings can instil and how strongly they connect with your past. It’s those connections and linkage skills which can be very important.

“I remember Grimsby Leisure Centre on Cromwell Road being built and thinking that it was the most amazing thing that had happened and, of course it was. At the time it was progressive, and it was great to have that kind of facility in the town.

“But my favourite building managed by the charity has to be Grimsby Central Library. Its humanistic 1960’s architecture is both beautiful and inspiring. It’s also where I did all my revision as a student in the reference library. Consequently, I still have a very strong and positive connection to that building.

“I’ve never regretted coming back to my hometown because it’s given me the chance to work in my own community, in the schools, colleges and buildings where I studied, and the places that were so important to me, Freeman Street for instance. Where we have helped develop such an important landmark building as the new YMCA, with so many more exciting opportunities in the near future.”

As to Mark’s ambition for Lincs Inspire, it’s of course about the buildings, but also about its people - staff and customers - and of raising the profile of the company and of the area. He added: “Studying the facilities and the ways in which they could be adapted and improved to benefit both the experience of people visiting them but also staff and, of course, how that can be done to increase income.

“What the town doesn’t do particularly well is to reflect and tell it’s story. The connections people make through stories are really important and I wish local people would take more time to reflect and tell their stories.

“Grimsby’s past of fishing doesn’t need to be romanticised, we can tell those stories honestly, but also tell other stories. The long overdue renaissance of this town is hugely important and Lincs Inspire can be at the heart of that.

“Lincs Inspire, like so many businesses, has been through a lot in the last 18 months. It should be noted that everyone in the company has done an incredible job in keeping it together. And I’m looking forward to being part of its future.”

Lincs Inspire Limited is overseen by a Board of Trustees; independent members from the community and business sectors who share their expertise to guide the company forward.

For more information about joining the charitable trust as an independent board member, please contact Lincs Inspire’s Chief Executive, Sue Wells, at sue.wells@lincsinspire.com