The developers of Milburngate and North East construction company Tolent have joined forces to help Durham mental health charity, the Waddington Street Centre, with a building makeover, in preparation for reopening after COVID restrictions are lifted.

With the help of a generous donation, the project will involve redecorating the main communal areas of the centre, helping to provide a refreshed environment that promotes positive mental health for members when they begin to return.

Waddington Street Centre is a small independent mental health resource centre with almost 40 years’ experience offering a wide range of informal educational activities and support services based on individual needs and aspirations.

Among the services offered by Waddington Street Centre are arts, crafts, writing and music workshops, as well as yearly exhibitions and performances, all of which are designed to help members improve their mental health and socially connect with each other.

It also has a partnership with New College Durham, running courses to help members develop soft skills to help them with their recovery.

Waddington Street Centre is within a mile from the landmark Milburngate development, which is being delivered by a joint venture partnership between Arlington Real Estate and Richardson, supported by a £120 million forward funding commitment from LaSalle Investment Management.

The site, currently under construction, is situated on the banks of the River Wear in the heart of Durham City. Phase One of Milburngate will feature a mix of premium leisure operators, such as Everyman Cinema and Miller & Carter, as well as 153 built-to-rent apartments, a high specification office building and a 92-bed Premier Inn hotel.

Steve Wakefield, assistant manager at Waddington Street Centre, said: “We’re really grateful for the support from Milburngate and Tolent.  We want to provide an environment which makes people feel valued and fosters positive mental health. For many of our members, our centre is a haven from the stresses of home, illnesses and the wider community.

“Lockdown has been difficult for many of our members who are socially isolated. Due to the pandemic more people than ever are struggling with their mental health and we expect to see an increase in referrals.  We look forward to rebuilding our service and the centre’s fresh new look will be a wonderful gift for our members.”

Allan Cook, managing director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “After hearing about the great work that the Waddington Street Centre does for the people of Durham, and in light of its proximity to Milburngate, I was keen to help during what is a particularly difficult time for local charities.

The building has lots of character and I am sure our team will help create a new welcoming environment for the centre’s members to benefit from its services and the excellent support it provides.

I hope that once it can reopen, the members of Waddington Street Centre will enjoy the space and the new look of the service.”

Andy McLeod, CEO of Tolent, said: “We’re always looking for ways to enrich the communities we work in, to bring a greater social value to our developments.

“We can all appreciate the impact the ongoing global pandemic is having on the most vulnerable within our communities and I’m delighted that this fantastic centre will be able to maximise this donation to ensure its members can look forward to its much needed reopening.”

Once fully reopened, Waddington Street Centre operates Monday to Saturday and one Sunday per month, as well as four evenings per week. For more information, please visit: https://www.waddingtoncentre.co.uk/.