A south east Northumberland charity which provides support to local people with mental health and learning difficulties has become the latest beneficiary of Rio Tinto’s legacy fund.
Blyth Star Enterprises has been awarded £41,301 to extend its range of horticultural services, providing training, work experience and employment opportunities to service users.
With the funding, the charity will establish a shop at Stakeford Nurseries where service users will sell produce they have grown themselves.
The purchase of a new van and ride-on lawn mower will also enable teams to undertake gardening and maintenance jobs in the local community, providing particular benefits to the elderly and disabled who might struggle to take care of their own gardens.
Tim Chrisp, chairman of Blyth Star Enterprises, said: “People suffering from mental health issues and those with learning difficulties still find it extremely difficult to find work; a consequence of which is social isolation which can in turn exacerbate the medical problems they face.
“Through our horticultural programme, we provide service users with activities, training and employment and the results clearly show an overall improvement in mental health well-being.”
Rio Tinto’s regional economic development assistant, Joanne Hannay, said: “Blyth Star Enterprises provides a fantastic service to local people who are otherwise at risk of becoming isolated from their communities. I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of the donation that takes our legacy fund spending so far to over half a million pounds.”
Since the closure of the Lynemouth plant, Rio Tinto has supported 14 good causes in Northumberland with donations totalling £523,335.