Charity's headquarters gets a makeover

A grant of almost £3,000 has enabled a highly regarded Morpeth charity to carry out improvements at its base.

Friday, 25th September 2020, 6:55 pm
Andy Rose, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Morpeth branch, with Rhona Dunn at the Contact Café.

Contact Morpeth Mental Health Group works to support people in the community who are recovering from or experiencing mental health problems, and their carers, by providing information and advice on a wide range of related issues.

Earlier this year, it was awarded £2,950 through Newcastle Building Society’s Market Place branch in the town for refurbishment work at its Oldgate headquarters, which have been closed for the last six months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The work has included new carpeting for the hallway and stairs, which has been laid by Paul Taylor of Castle Carpets in Morpeth, as well new safety lighting and new fire signs.

Soundproofing has been added to the floor of the charity’s counselling rooms to ensure private conversations do not carry to other parts of the building. Measures have been put in place to make the building Covid-secure to help the charity re-open to service users when restrictions allow.

Contact runs a popular café within its premises and is supported by a growing team of volunteers and trustees.

It has continued to support service users while the building has been out of action by providing telephone counselling services where required.

Volunteer chair Rhona Dunn said: “Our headquarters has been really well-used for a wide range of different activities, but the wear and tear that it’s suffered as a result has been increasingly obvious and we’ve been keen to get this work done for a long time.

“The refurbishment has made a huge difference to both how the building looks and the environment we can offer to our services users, and while we’ll only be able to accommodate limited numbers in the first instance, we can’t wait to be able to welcome everyone back.

“There’s no way we could have afforded to get this work done without the generous help of Newcastle Building Society and we’re hugely grateful for its support with this project.”

The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which was set-up to offer grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the society’s branch network – and put forward for support by its customers.

Andy Rose, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Morpeth branch, said: “Contact Morpeth Mental Health Group makes a real difference to the lives of lots of people living in and around the local area, and as part of our own contribution to the well-being of our community, we’ve previously been able to support them by providing meeting space within our branch.

“We’re really pleased to be extending our relationship with the charity through this project and happy to see how much of a difference the refurbishment has made to its headquarters.”