New caravan for charity thanks to big funding boost

A Morpeth-based charity will be able to provide a new state-of-the-art facility for important therapeutic breaks after it received more than £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The existing eight-berth caravan belonging to Contact Morpeth Mental Health Group at Haggerston Castle in north Northumberland has been in place for about seven years and the grant means that it will be replaced.

It is used by people with issues such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia and their family members.

The site hosts a range of activities including tennis, bingo, quizzes, dances, cycling, bowls and swimming and people can visit towns and historical sites nearby such as Berwick, Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle.

The £51,444 from the Big Lottery Fund will also go towards site fees and annual maintenance. The body has provided funding for this initiative on a couple of other occasions.

Contact’s centre manager, Audrey Anderson, said: “This caravan has been well-used and it needed to be replaced, so we’re delighted that we will be able to get a new one in place in early 2015.

“As with the one at the moment, it will have features like central heating and double glazed windows and it will be big enough to accommodate a family group.

“Going on this therapeutic break makes a big difference to the well-being of those with mental health issues and as the cost of staying in the caravan includes access to all the site’s facilities, it makes it affordable for those on low incomes.

“We work in partnership with the Morpeth Lions and health organisations to ensure that as many people as possible get to use the facility.

“We’re very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for awarding us grants for this initiative.”

Contact Morpeth Mental Health Group, located in Greys Yard, Oldgate, also offers counselling, complementary therapy, craft and creative writing sessions, drop-in services, social activities and outings among other support services and a set of computers are available for use.