JUST a year after its launch, a charity has secured the use of a disused social club to turn into its headquarters.

The Angel Trust in Bishop Auckland has moved into the former Belvedere Social Club and hopes to complete its refurbishment next month.

Last week, charity leaders including ambassador and television personality Scarlett Moffatt met with funders to thank them and reveal the plans.

The Northern Echo:

Charity officials with funders who have supported its move into the former Belvedere Social Club

Chief executive Clair McGregor said: "We're so grateful for the support we have had to do this and have exciting plans for the space.

"It is a win-win situation– we already help lots of groups and will be able to offer them use of our facilities for free, it will be a home for us and our volunteers without whom we'd not be able to do anything and it is a great use of this big building."

The base will include a community learning room to hold courses from basic computer skills and literacy and numeracy to healthy cookery and crafts. Groups such as single dads and young mums, teenage mental health support and counselling services will be able to use the space.

And the building will include an office, a volunteer hub, retail desk selling charity merchandise and seasonal goods to raise funds and Custom Design is providing a kitchen.

The Northern Echo:

Angel Trust chief executive Clair McGregor shows Scarlett and Betty Moffatt how the refurbishment is going

Miss Moffatt, who then rushed off London to be at the BAFTAs, said: "Sometimes people just need somewhere to go, someone to turn to– Angel Trust can offer that and this can become a safe haven for people, somewhere they can meet up and somewhere for the charity to do its work. Everything about Angel Trust is about community, helping local people and the volunteers themselves are a community– some have had their own issues and they get a lot out of helping people and have fun doing it."

The charity has been able to secure the site for a small rental fee from its owner Allan McGregor, who also donated £5,000 towards the work. Funding also came from the neighbourhood budgets of Durham County Councillors Tanya Tucker, Joy Allen and Charlie Kay, a targeted business improvement fund grant of £5,000 through the county council, South Durham Enterprise Agency and Bishop Auckland Town Council.

Councillor Tanya Tucker said: "From all I have seen about the charity, they have good people involved and they are doing good work to help people of our area."People are always the focus of my work and the charity seems to have good people involved, working hard to benefit the residents of this area."

"They seem really good at fundraising so hopefully, with this lift to get into a base, they can keep going and be self-supporting to keep doing the work they are doing to help people going through tough times.

"The project also appealed to me because we are seeing the building brought back to life. The Belvedere was there for more years than I can remember and could have just fallen into disrepair, I'm glad something worthwhile is happening with it."

Kathryn Watson, from Durham County Council’s regeneration department, said it gave £5,000 from the business improvement fund towards the charity’s base.

She said: “The Angel Trust is doing a fabulous job and it is great to help them move into a base which see a big, disused building on a busy road in the town back into use.”