WORK has started on the transformation of a derelict nightclub into an out-of-school club for children.

The former Talk of the Town nightclub, on the corner of Hundens Lane and Haughton Road, has been empty for years until Debbi Moore decided to turn it into a fun childcare centre.

People in the area had complained about the derelict building which used to be owned by businessman Marcus Nimmo.

Planning permission was granted in 1998 to convert the building into six flats but it remained undeveloped and became a target for vandals.

Mrs Moore received a £27,300 grant from the New Opportunities Fund, and will provide care for up to 40 youngsters.

Mrs Moore runs a childcare centre at Darlington Memorial Hospital, in partnership with the NHS, offering care from 7am until 6.30pm for up to 24 children.

The Funtime Club is currently at Haughton Youth Centre, where it offers care for youngsters aged three to 14 during the week

When it moves to its new premises, The Funtime Club will extend its opening times to weekends and introduce care for pre-schoolers.

Both centres, which are Ofsted-approved, provide breakfast and supervise the journey to and from school. During school holidays the centres are open all day.

Although much of the shell of the former Talk of the Town club has been retained, the area behind it has been demolished to create a play area and parking.

Inside there will be an area for arts and crafts, a homework area and a computer centre.

The members of The Funtime Club have been consulted on the new building.

The clubs are run on a non-profit-making basis.

Mrs Moore said: "I could see there was a gap between the end of the school day and what employers saw was the end of the working day and only those on a certain level of income could afford the childcare."

For details call 07801 851022 or (01325) 743508.