A NON-PROFIT-making child-care centre is asking for help from the business community to get its new premises into shape.

In return for donations of paint and help with decorating and equipment, The Funtime Centre in Hundens Lane, Darlington, hopes to be able to offer an essential service for working parents throughout the town.

The centre is being created in the former Talk of the Town nightclub, which has been empty for years.

Work is continuing to transform the vandalised building into a working childcare centre thanks to a £27,300 National Lottery grant from The New Opportunities Fund.

Debbi Moore, who already runs a childcare centre at Darlington Memorial Hospital with the NHS, hopes to open the Hundens Lane centre within six months.

The lottery grant and non-profit status of the centre will allow affordable childcare to be offered out-of-school hours and in the holidays for about 40 youngsters.

It is hoped that this will make it easier for more parents to work.

Ms Moore said: "I could see there was a gap between the end of the school day and what employees saw was the end of the working day - and only those on a certain level of income could afford the childcare fees to cover that gap in order to keep on working."

To get the centre up and running Ms Moore will need help with some of the finishing touches.

She is appealing for volunteers to help decorate the centre and landscape the play area and grounds.

Children already attending Ms Moore's clubs have helped design the inside of the centre but help is needed to turn the plans into reality.

She is also hoping to attract donations of all kinds of equipment, from toys and books to PlayStations and computers, as well as netball posts, bats and balls and other sports gear.

Any company willing to offer sponsorship to the new venture would also be welcomed.

The club is staffed by paid, fully trained and approved childcare workers. Job applications are invited from trained childcare workers.

To pledge support, call 07801 851022