Major boost for Border Links' disability hub dream as National Lottery will fund over £165,000 of the project costs
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Border Links, which provides training for adults with learning disabilities, has announced that the Reaching Communities fund at the National Lottery has agreed to fund more than £165,000 of the project’s costs.
It purchased new premises at the Ramparts Business Park site last year. Approximately £300,000 is required to fit out the premises – including disabled toilets, a lift to the first floor and a commercial kitchen – and around £60,000 is left to bring in as other funds have been raised.
Border Links’ aim is that the hub will enable the company to secure its long-term future so it can continue to provide high-quality training, social enterprise opportunities and day care for many years to come.
Melanie Deans, one of the directors, said: “Our dream of creating a disability hub in Berwick is a huge step closer thanks to the Reaching Communities Fund at the National Lottery.
“The plans and layout have been discussed and agreed with members who attend Border Links, with some great ideas being incorporated.
“The hub will provide first-class training facilities in a modern spacious setting with good parking, bus stops nearby and neighbouring businesses to build positive relationships with.
"Covid-19 taught us that working together as a community, supporting one another and communicating positively is valued on all levels. With the right support and advice, we can usually find a solution.
“We aim to provide families, carers, employers and any other interested people with the opportunities and signposting to help answer their questions. We will run regular events to showcase local and national organisations and will feature all of this on our well-supported social media platforms.
“We will help and encourage new disability-focused groups to set-up and use the facilities for meetings and social events. Parents and carers have told us about a lack of evening opportunities for adults with disabilities and so we plan to create events to help fill these gaps.
“We plan to have the hub up and running in 2024 and look forward to welcoming people and groups to this modern, bespoke asset that will provide many new and exciting opportunities to local people impacted by disability.”
Border Links started out with one day each week in Cornhill Village Hall in 2006. Following more demand and replication, it now works with more than 50 people at sites based in Amble, Berwick, Cornhill and Kelso.
After consultation with staff, members and their families, the wishlist for the new premises includes larger and improved teaching and training spaces, comfortable seating and areas to relax, meeting rooms to facilitate community engagement/learning/training and respond to requests for specialised autism support, an accessible commercial kitchen to allow for more enterprise development and facilitate independent living skills, and carbon neutral status to help the environment and with long-term bills.
For more information about the company, go to www.borderlinks.co.uk