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Durham mental health centre appeals for support
A LITTLE-known mental health centre is appealing for more support and volunteers amid looming funding cutbacks.
St Margaret’s Centre opened in The Old School, on Margery Lane, Durham City, in 1991 and gained charitable status three years later.
Staff and volunteers provide training for people recovering from mental health illnesses, working with up to 35 people at any given time.
The centre, controlled by representatives from various Durham churches, has generally gone about its work quietly, with the vast majority of its funding coming from Durham County Council.
However, with the council facing unprecedented spending cuts, leaders of St Margaret’s are having to look elsewhere to cover the centre’s £170,000-a-year costs.
Fundraiser Howard Nicholson said: “This is a fantastic facility but we need to get more people in and try to raise funding.”
People are referred to the centre by the NHS. How often they visit and over what period depends on the individual.
Activities provided include woodwork, upholstery, horticulture, arts, crafts, textiles, computing and more.
Current projects include creating items for North Road Methodist Church and renovating furniture from the bar of Durham University’s St John’s College.
Cards made at the centre are available at craft fairs, under the brand The Craft Mouse.
The centre recently underwent a £42,000 refurbishment, with a new kitchen, education centre and meeting rooms installed on the first floor, above the ground floor workshop. It is hoped new toilets can be added soon.
Everyone is invited to look round the centre when it holds an open day on Wednesday, September 12, from 10am to 4pm. There will be stalls, activities and demonstrations throughout the day.
A fundraising lunch will be held in the Bishops Suite at Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham, on Friday, December 14, from 11.30am to 4.30pm. The speakers will be Gary Skyner, a comedian and the UK’s
second thalidomide victim, and Lee Ridley, a comedian known as Lost Voice Guy because he uses a communication aid.
Tickets, priced £50 each, can be booked by calling 0191-3848100.
For more information, visit stmargaretscentre.co.uk
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