Peterlee community project awarded £20,000 to expand the services it offers

Mar 15, 2022 | Local News

A community project which takes a holistic approach to improving mental wellbeing is expanding so it can support hundreds more people.

CALM in East Durham runs formal programs, creative classes, a cafe and workshops such as yoga and meditation from its base at the old bowling green on Low Hills Road, in Peterlee.

All its activities are based on yogic principles and people are welcomed into a supportive community, which nurtures their emotional and mental resilience.

Now, with demand for its services growing, the Community Interest Company is expanding with a new dedicated community classroom.

The £30,500 BHAKTI Studio project is being made possible with a £20,000 grant from County Durham-based housing association believe housing.

Funding is also being provided by Durham County Council’s East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) through the Neighbourhood budget of County Councillors Susan Macdonald, Louise Fenwick, Karen Hawley, Terry Duffy and Diane Howarth.

Along with the new classroom, the project will include a storage container, a dedicated community development worker and weekly classes.

The facility will provide additional space for CALM in East Durham’s activities, including arts and crafts classes, and it will be available to other community groups to hire.

It is also expected to support about five people into employment training.

Barbara Chrisp, senior tutor and director of CALM in East Durham, said: “Our community is about kindness, support and balance.

“We’re not a crutch for people, instead we help them stand on their own two feet, supporting them with physical, mental or emotional challenges.

“This extra space is going to be such an amazing thing.

“We started in 2019 and have wonderful outside space but have very quickly outgrown the indoor space.

“Having an extra classroom is going to give a permanent home to the arts and crafts side of our work and will double our capacity almost overnight.”

Debbie Howe, community investment coordinator at believe housing, said: “We believe in life without barriers so when we learnt of the work CALM in East Durham is doing to support people, no matter what challenges they face, we were keen to get onboard.

“Our community investment grants enable communities to improve people’s mental and physical health, build their confidence and support employability training.

“So, we are delighted to make this award of £20,000 to help CALM in East Durham improve the lives and wellbeing of many more people, including believe housing customers.”