A MIDDLESBROUGH organisation that helps people with autism and cerebral palsy is celebrating after a new financial arrangement cements its purchase of a new home.

A loan from Triodos Bank UK and a donation from the Finlay Cooper Fund has meant disability charity MAIN can purchase its state-of-the-art new home – a former community nurse’s station in the town.

The building will be transformed into the new Finlay Cooper Centre, and will enable the charity to meet the growing demand for its services.

MAIN helps people with a range of disabilities, including autism and cerebral palsy, by giving them the skills they need to live an independent life while having fun and making friends.

The charity runs clubs and services for children from Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and County Durham, which gives their parents and carers a break from their caring roles, although they have been put on hold during the pandemic.

The new site doubles MAIN's existing space from 400 visitors per week to around 700 as well as providing specialist equipment for different ability groups.

The Finlay Cooper Trust donated £100,000 towards the purchase of the building while Triodos Bank lent £217,000, but £205,000 in donations is still needed for the renovation project dubbed the 'big build'.

Helen Jaques, MAIN’s charity manager, explains: “MAIN’s Big Build is a vital project for the hundreds of people that we support on a weekly basis.

"Having the financial backing to be able to purchase our own property and then renovate it means that this can truly be a safe and inspiring space for our visitors.

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"Some families are struggling with the diagnosis that they’ve just heard, others haven’t had a moment’s break in months, and some just want a safe and comfortable place for their children to play – and the new Finlay Cooper Centre will allow them to the support and skills they need to thrive.”

The site will offer safe and comfortable spaces for those with specific needs, whilst providing a range of equipment and facilities, such as pool tables and kitchens.

“We are pleased to be working with Triodos Bank UK, who share our commitment to working for a better world. Our donation from the Finlay Cooper Fund recognises the extraordinary work that the charity is doing locally, and it’s wonderful to have the support of a lender who also appreciates the value of what we do," Ms Jaques added.

MAIN’s approach is seen as innovative as it is taking ownership of premises rather than holding a lease.

For the lender, Triodos Bank UK, the impact of MAIN’s work is important.

Rob Keegan, sustainable lending team manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “Our mission as a bank is to work for a society with human dignity at its core. We’re proud to have supported MAIN to be able to extend its vital services for those living with disabilities.

"We particularly focus on projects that promote social inclusion, and MAIN is an excellent example of this: the renovation work that is planned for the new centre will ensure that it becomes a beacon for families in the region, furthering the charity’s work to reduce the marginalisation of those living with disability.”

The building is estimated to open in June 2021.