Group of members outside of Hub of Wishes in Newton Aycliffe

Group of members outside of Hub of Wishes in Newton Aycliffe

Published: 15 March 2023

A charity providing creative ways to support the mental health of adults has been given a stronger voice thanks to a substantial grant from the the Society’s 5% Pledge.

The Hub of Wishes, in Newton Aycliffe, has received a £5,000 donation towards their innovative project called ‘Creative Voice’.

The project, based in two converted houses in Silverdale Place, features a choir, an art and crafts group, and a train group for members who have a passion for the railways.

What’s more those taking part in the group sessions are also given a bag of food donated by Fareshare to take home.

Joanne Howe, Deputy Manager at The Hub of Wishes, said: “Our funds were getting very low, so I felt like crying when I heard about the £5,000 donation from Darlington Building Society.

“We’ve had people suffering so badly with their mental health that they’ve said they might not still be alive without The Hub of Wishes, so this support really is a lifeline.”

The grant comes from the Society’s pledge to donate 5% of its profits to good causes in the community, with the support of County Durham Community Foundation.

Formerly Newton Aycliffe MIND, the Hub of Wishes became an independent charity in 2015 and its services are in greater demand than ever due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s hit people hard. We’ve got people who live on one bag of food a week, and one man rides a bike to get here from Esh Winning, which is 17 miles away,” explained Joanne.

The choir, art and craft group, and train group all meet on Mondays as ways of bringing people together and lifting their spirits.

“The groups all have that feelgood factor, whether it’s for people wanting to sing, paint, or share their interest in trains by making models, watching videos, and visiting railway attractions.

Andi Walker, a volunteer, and service-user has been attending for nine years and singing with the choir for seven. She said: “I’ve had my own problems, and this place has helped me out big time. It’s like a big family. We laugh and smile while we’re singing, and I find myself singing the songs when I’m out for a walk.

“We all want to say thank you so much to Darlington Building Society. This donation is very much appreciated because it’ll help keep the group going and help a lot of people.”

The centre is open five days a week, offering a warm welcome to people needing support through emotional distresses, difficult times, and mental health issues. Other activities include bingo, quizzes, walking and dance groups, and health eating guidance, plus alternative therapies such as Reiki, reflexology, hypnotherapy, and Indian head massage.

Andrew Craddock, chief executive, said: “The Hub of Wishes provides an incredible range of support services and activities that are really making a difference to people’s lives, and we are delighted to be able to help make this contribution towards its running costs.”

You can learn more about Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge, including how to nominate a charity or good cause, here.