A CHARITY dedicated to providing help and support to families affected by cancer has opened a new drop in centre thanks to businesses in the area.

Buildings 26 to 28 on High Street, in Spennymoor, are now home to the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust ran by founder Mark Solan.

Mr Solan – who was named ITV Tyne Tees Fundraiser of the Year in 2017– set up the County Durham charity after taking part in a white-collar boxing event in 2015, raising money for Cancer Research UK in memory of his mother and grandmother.

The organisation secured the upstairs of the Spennymoor building and relocated their treatment therapy, hair replacement services and established an office space on the first floor in late 2018.

The charity said it was a prime location as the building is situated next door to the original charity boutique shop.

The ground floor became available to lease in 2019 and Mr Solan dreamed of turning it into a large multi-use space where where 'Team Solan could provide an enhanced range of support services to those with a cancer diagnosis.'

The founder reached out to businesses in the area to help transform the space into a safe, secure, friendly and welcoming location.

Mr Solan put an appeal out on Facebook, and was delighted when Aviva Crowdfunder invited 'Team Solan' to participate in its 2019 funding program and has since developed a project crowdfunding page for the cause which raised more than £8000 by the end of 2019.

Businesses in the area also pulled together to help and Aviva itself donated £5000 to the project.

Volunteer at the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust, Ian Machin, said: "This is great example of how local businesses and the public can come together to help a local charity that helps those unfortunate enough to have any cancer diagnosis.

"Our many support services and activities for families are currently scattered around Spennymoor, our base.

"We hope that being able to provide existing, enhanced and new services in a dedicated, familiar location, knowing attendees would be welcomed by familiar faces, be secure, be safe and with privacy where needed, will make a huge difference to participation and to families.

"We will be able to help and support many more in need and combat isolation and encourage social interaction.

"Our new service ideas include crafting, art club, kitchen training and cooking lessons, school holiday activities for children families, support groups for different cancers, more volunteering, back to work opportunities and more focussed support groups."

The charity has to date helped 126 new families and is thrilled about the expansion.

For more information about the County Durham charity visit @thesolanconnorfawcettfamilycancertrust on Facebook or email info@teamsolan.org.uk