AN initiative to provide vulnerable people with comfortable accommodation for up to a year has received vital financial support from a North-East building society.

The 700 Club, a Darlington charity working with partners to prevent homelessness, will soon be making 32 self-contained apartments available to help local people live independently.

And Darlington Building Society has donated £4,000 to sponsor one of the apartments, covering the cost of new furniture and other equipment.

Yvonne Beattie, Chief Executive of the 700 Club, said: “We are very grateful to Darlington Building Society, not just for its generous financial contribution, but the moral support that comes from being two like-minded organisations working together for the good of Darlington.”

The £4,000 grant is part of the Society’s pledge to donate five per cent of its profits to good causes in the local communities it serves – an annual commitment which has recently been extended up to 2025.

Chris Hunter, the Society’s Chief Operating Officer, serves as treasurer on the Board of the 700 Club. He said: “Darlington Building Society and the 700 Club have a shared goals and values, so we are delighted to be able to sponsor one of these high-quality apartments.”

“This is such an important initiative because it is about helping people who don’t have an income history, or independent track record of paying a mortgage, but still need accommodation.

The 32 flats – known as Church View Apartments – are next to St John the Evangelist Church in Neasham Road, and close to Darlington Railway Station.

The 700 Club purchased the building from Anchor Housing, with support from Homes England, and has worked closely with Darlington Borough Council on the project. Broadacres Housing Association was commissioned to undertake the development work, which started in July 2019.

The majority of the apartments are for single people, but there are three apartments for couples. The first residents are expected to be welcomed before the end of the year.

Residents will be referred from a range of Darlington agencies and will benefit from support staff being on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will also be given the opportunity to take part in a full programme of daily activities.

“The apartments are for people with the potential to live independently but who lack the skills and confidence to do so,” said Mrs Beattie.

“Residents will be encouraged to gradually buy items of furniture and other household equipment to replace what is already provided in the apartments, so that by the time they leave, they’re not starting from scratch. It’s designed as a stepping-stone to independent living.”

•  If you would like to know more about this exciting project, go to or email Yvonne Beattie at