The charity helps its visitors learn how to live more independently, encouraging them to meet people and have fun, as well as offering their families and carers a break from their caring responsibilities.

Now, a new loan from Triodos Bank and a generous donation from the Finlay Cooper Fund have enabled MAIN to purchase a new home for its services. The building, a former nurses’ station in the centre of Middlesbrough, will be developed to double MAIN’s existing space and include state-of-the-art facilities for both practical learning and fun.

When the new centre opens, MAIN will be able to dramatically expand its service, providing invaluable support and education for many more families. It plans to increase its visitor numbers from 400 per week to in excess of 700.

“The advantage of having a larger, more flexible space means that MAIN can offer tailored support and a more appropriate environment for those that we support,” Helen Jaques, MAIN’s charity manager, explains. “We can offer safe and comfortable spaces for those with specific needs, whilst providing a wider range of equipment and facilities, such as pool tables and kitchens.”

Renovation works will be carried out as part of MAIN’s Big Build project. Describing the ambitious plans, Helen continues: “The next challenge is to refurbish this building into one offering the best possible facilities that our users need and deserve. It will be no mean feat but one that the charity’s team and supporters are already busy planning and I have no doubt we’ll succeed.”

The new Finlay Cooper Centre is due to open and welcome visitors in summer 2021. In addition to the inspirational indoor space, a new sensory garden and outdoor play area will encourage visitors to experience the outdoors as they’ve never done before. It’s even planned that they’ll be able to grow their own produce on the land.

“We’re proud to have supported MAIN to be able to extend its vital services for those living with disabilities,” explains Rob Keegan, sustainable lending team manager at Triodos Bank UK. “We particularly focus on projects that promote social inclusion, and MAIN is an excellent example of this: the renovation work that is planned for the new centre will ensure that it becomes a beacon for families in the region, furthering the charity’s work to reduce the marginalisation of those living with disability.”

Talking about what the future looks like for the people that MAIN works with, Helen concludes: “MAIN’s Big Build is a vital project for the hundreds of people that we support on a weekly basis. Having the financial backing to be able to purchase our own property and then renovate it means that this can truly be a safe and inspiring space for our visitors. Some families are struggling with the diagnosis that they’ve just heard, others haven’t had a moment’s break in months, and some just want a safe and comfortable place for their children to play – and the new Finlay Cooper Centre will allow them to the support and skills they need to thrive.”

About MAIN

MAIN has a mission to help people living with a range of disabilities by giving them the skills they need to live an independent life, while having fun and making friends. This in turn gives their parents or carers a break from their caring roles. It is a registered charity, set up in 2002, and works with adults, parents, carers and professionals.

Why we finance social projects

We support the personal development of disadvantaged individuals, by financing businesses that address specific social objectives. In this sector, we lend to not-for-profit employment programmes, youth help centres and integration programmes and more.

Find out more