A HEXHAM support service for people with learning difficulties has been boosted by a donation from the town’s mayor.

Mayor Tom Gillanders agreed to purchase some new equipment for Gateway into the Community, using his allowance.

The service, which celebrated it’s 20th birthday earlier this year, is based on St Mary’s Wynd in Hexham, but works with people with people with disabilities across the west of Northumberland.

Gateway opened its new premises earlier this year, and the opening ceremony was attended by Coun. Gillanders.

Coun. Gillanders purchased three bean bags for the charity, at a cost of £160.

Coun. Gillanders said: “Gateway invited me to its opening ceremony earlier this year, and I was so impressed.

“I asked if they had any projects they needed help with and they said they wanted to get some of these bean bags.

“It’s a good cause and it does some great work in the town.”

Gateway’s life chances manager, Julia Ferguson, said: “Hexham Mayor Tom Gillanders has supported us in giving us a donation to buy some giant colourful beanbags for our members who have sensory needs. They are large, durable and washable and great fun for our members.

“These have been a fantastic gift, and we just wanted to recognise his support and generosity to our local charity based in Hexham.”

The donation came in the same week as the charity’s base, known as ‘the den,’ was awarded as the best-dressed store front in the town for Hexham’s Spook Night.

Day service manager Sharyn Castelow said that the new premises had given the charity more of a presence in the town.

Sharyn said: “Since we’ve moved here we’re out there more. We’ve got a presence and this is what happens when people know you’re here.”

We’re absolutely delighted, it’s just nice that Tom recognised us and wanted to help.

“We’ve wanted the beanbags for a while.

“We can use them all over the building and even outside.

“They’ve been well used already. We’ve had them in front of the big TV and they’re quite therapeutic. It’s almost like getting a big cuddle.