A NEW centre for people with Alzheimer's and dementia was opened last Friday.

Chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Harry Cayton OBE, travelled from London to open The Green, in Nettlesworth.

Staff, carers, volunteers, Chester-le-Street District Council and the former Mayor of Durham, Coun George Cowper, have all been involved in creating the centre.

More than £20,000 was raised to convert the community hall, where the society can now provide day care provision for Durham and Chester-le-Street in its own premises, instead of in hired rooms.

The centre offers day care, not just to the elderly, but also for younger people with dementia.

Branch manager Jennifer Brown said: "It's a nice, homely environment for people with dementia. There is also a flat that has been renovated for younger people with dementia."

The renovation was funded with grants from Lloyds TSB, the Northern Rock Foundation, the district council and Coun Cowper contributed money from his Mayor's Appeal fund.

Care Services Co-ordinator Debbie Keenan said: "This new centre will provide a more effective and efficient resource to help our people and having everything on one site means we can make it a more welcoming and stimulating environment."