New inviting look for charity’s HQ

Pictured, from front, are Jeannie Kielty of The Banks Group with Kath Falcus, Davey Falcus, Kathy Urwin and Stephen Humphrey of Real Deal Plus.
Pictured, from front, are Jeannie Kielty of The Banks Group with Kath Falcus, Davey Falcus, Kathy Urwin and Stephen Humphrey of Real Deal Plus.

A charity has built a better future for itself and its clients after completing refurbishment work on its headquarters building.

Real Deal Plus provides a range of services that help around 1,000 disadvantaged people in south east Northumberland meet the challenges they face on a daily basis.

They include food, clothing and furniture banks, mental health support, training, work experience and the provision of shelter for homeless people.

Based at the old police station on Station Road in Ashington, it runs with the support of more than 50 local volunteers, including some of the clients that it helps.

While the inside of its offices are in good shape, the outside of the building was neglected for many years before the charity moved in, and it was felt this was creating a barrier stopping some people looking for help from finding out what was available.

The cost of carrying out the required work and the need to invest to meet growing demand on its services were considered prohibitive factors to getting things done.

But after winning a £10,000 grant from regional employer The Banks Group through its Banks Community Fund, Real Deal Plus has been able to commission Blyth-based Rapier Construction to carry out the works.

New block paving and a concrete ramp have been put in place at the Station Road entrance, brickwork has been repointed where required and the building’s original railings that were taken out during the Second World War have been put back where they belong.

Kathy Urwin of Real Deal Plus said: “Providing better access from what is already a busy street will hopefully encourage more local people to come in and see what sort of support we can provide.

“We’re constantly being told by passers-by how much of an impact the improvements we’ve made have had on the community as a whole.

“The Banks Group’s generous support has enabled us to bring forward a project that would otherwise have taken much longer to get going.”

For more information about the Banks Community Fund, call James Eaglesham on 0191 3786342.