A CHARITY which helps women with their mental health has sold 6,000 facemasks to raise money for a new extension.

Just for Women, in Stanley, runs therapeutic workshops and counselling for women facing domestic abuse, poor mental health and financial worries.

While the centre has been closed, the team of staff and volunteers have managed to send 3,200 hampers to people in care homes, keep their counselling services running, and deliver care packs to families in the town.

Founder Linda Kirk, who is nominated for an Amazing Women Awards 2020 award, said: “When the pandemic hit we considered what we could do to help, and making and selling facemasks came to mind. We have nearly raised enough money now to build an annex on the centre so we can run workshops for an additional ten women."

Debbie Ramm, who joined the team in 2017, has made the masks, which have sold like hot cakes around the country.

“Debbie came to us through the job centre and has a real creative flare and made some beautiful home accessories to sell in our shop. We were fortunate to be able to give her paid employment and she has been a valuable member of our team. Debbie has made over 6,000 face masks and still her machine is churning out more."

The centre works with around 600 women each year, but a further 200 have come forward as a direct result of the pandemic.

Linda added: “We’ve been getting out into the community and as a result we’ve met a lot of new people who need our help. We’ve been speaking to more older women, some of whom have been experiencing domestic abuse for decades, and now they are a carer for their partner.”

The team were awarded almost £4,000 by County Durham Community Foundation recently to prepare the centre for reopening with plastic screens, fogging, handwash and additional cleaning rotas.

The charity also received just under £12,000 from the Stanley Fund last year to support their adult learning workshops.