A CHARITY that supports people with learning disabilities is celebrating a lottery windfall that will secure the future of its service in north Durham.

The Learning Library, based in Spennymoor, County Durham, loans specialist items to people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

In 2011 it expanded into the north of County Durham with money from the Big Lottery Fund and has just learned that the grants body will continue to fund it for another three years.

Loading article content

The £129,964 grant will enable the charity to run its office in Church Lane, Durham City, along with a vehicle, two part time outreach workers and an administration assistant.

Manager Sheila Harris said: “This is excellent news for everyone involved with our charity.

“Funding is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

“The continued support of such a leading funding body not only helps us to continue our valued service to people with learning disabilities and secure the jobs of three workers but also raises our profile in the community and with other funders.

“We are delighted to have been successful in this application.”

The charity was established in Spennymoor, County Durham, in 1986, and has continually grown to meet demand.

Of its 800 plus members around 300 are in the Derwentside, Chester-le-Street and Durham City area.

Most are families of children or adults with special needs who might otherwise be unable to afford the equipment offered by The Learning Library or who trial them before investing in their own.

The specialist equipment aids learning through play, stimulates, helps physical development, builds confidence and often enables a disabled child to play with siblings.

Mrs Harris added: “We didn’t go into the north area at all until 2011.

“Before that we did a questionnaire to see if it was needed and found there was demand, the fact we have so many members in just three years shows how important our work is in the north so we’re delighted it can continue.”

For details about the charity visit the website learninglibrary.org.uk