Home North East Generous grants enable service expansion at Northumberland-based mental health charity

Generous grants enable service expansion at Northumberland-based mental health charity

A Northumberland-based mental health organisation has expanded one of its popular sheltered employment-styled day services to keep up with increased demand thanks to generous grants from two private charitable trusts.

Blyth Star Enterprises, which supports people living with severe and enduring mental ill health and learning disabilities in Northumberland, has successfully extended its woodwork department thanks to a £5,000 grant from the Ridley Family Charity and a £9,000 donation from The Kirkby Foundation.

The Kirkby Foundation has supported Blyth Star Enterprises for a number of years, with the running grant total provided by the organisation now approaching £30,000. The Foundation previously helped fund the relocation of the woodwork department from its previous home in Blyth to a purpose-built facility at The Woodfuel Centre in West Sleekburn, as well as a small extension to the unit to house a kitchen and dining space for staff and service users.

The most recent donation has been used to add another, much larger extension to the building. Named ‘The Kirkby Suite’ in honour of its main benefactor, the new open-plan space will enable more service users to participate in woodwork activities and provide more flexibility in the range of projects that they can get involved with.

“At Blyth Star Enterprises, we are dedicated to providing relevant day services for our clients,” said Gordon Moore, chief executive officer at Blyth Star Enterprises.

“Facilities like the woodwork department enable our service users to learn new skills and put them into practice in an enjoyable, sheltered working environment which promotes creativity and social interaction.

“Support from third-party organisations enable us to improve these valuable services which really make a difference to our service users’ lives, so for that I would like to thank The Kirkby Foundation on behalf of everyone at Blyth Star Enterprises for their continued support and incredible generosity over the last four years.”

The Kirkby Foundation was set up by husband and wife team, Stuart and Janet Brown in 2011 using the profits generated from the sale of their business.

Since its inception, The Kirkby Foundation has established links with over 86 different not-for-profit organisations and has supported more than 180 charitable projects across the UK and abroad.

“Our charitable interests started back in 2003 with an orphanage we were supporting in Kenya,” explained Stuart, director at The Kirkby Foundation.

“Janet and I visited the orphanage a few years later and after witnessing first-hand the amount of progress and the huge difference that a small amount of funding had made to the children’s lives, we felt inspired to start looking for more opportunities to give something back. This is how The Kirkby Foundation came to be.

“The work that Blyth Star Enterprises does to support people living in the North East with mental health and learning disabilities is absolutely amazing and we are delighted that we have been able to support the organisation in its endeavour to improve its services over the past few years.

“The improved woodwork department is absolutely fantastic and it is a privilege to see the rewards and benefits this is bringing to Blyth Star’s service users.”

Blyth Star Enterprises has been providing specialist living support, rehabilitation and day services to people living with mental ill health and learning disabilities for over 30 years.

Founded on the basic principles of somewhere to live, somewhere to work and someone to care, Blyth Star Enterprises strives to help its service users live as independently as they can within their local communities.