A CHARITY which supports children and adults with learning disabilities can continue to operate out of its base of more than 30 years thanks to a cash injection.

Since 1986, the Spennymoor-based Learning Library has been offering toys, advice and support to adults and families in a bid to help their little ones reach their full potential.

Having started off with just a small group of parents and a grant of £50, the team soon moved into its Durham County Council-owned headquarters on North Street.

However, in recent years the building developed a problem with damp and the conditions had started to put families off visiting.

Thanks to a fund of almost £8,000 from Spennymoor AAP, the charity's base has undergone a revamp which has included the installation of a damp-proof course, replastering and redecoration of walls, new double-glazed windows and a new front door.

Manager Marion Nelthorpe, speaking at the relaunch on Wednesday, said: "This gives children a choice - if they want to come here they can. It means when people come in there's not an awful damp smell and it's safer for the children.

"It means so much and it gives you a sense of pride."

The Learning Library has around 500 members from across County Durham who access the service through Spennymoor or via its four outreach workers.

Members can borrow a variety of the charity's thousands of toys and items which included everything from a specialist sensory light for a person with profound disabilities, to bikes, outdoor play equipment and literacy games.

The service is free to members and can also work in schools and care homes for a nominal fee.

Rachel Tingle, of Spennymoor, has been using the service for a few months with her three-year-old son Noah, who does not have a disability diagnosis but is currently being assessed.

She said: "We didn't know it was here but it's been fantastic. We've borrowed different toys and he's really enjoying the different things he's had."

The refurbished base is more accessible and will allow the team to keep some of their items in more hygienic conditions, reducing the need for more than necessary washes.

Ms Nelthorpe offered her thanks to volunteers for help with the work as well as Spennymoor Community Fire Station, for allowing the charity to store items during the repairs.