STUDENTS of a Tynedale-based arts charity have been kept busy during lockdown.

The Minerva Centre, on Hexham's Hallstile Bank, offers art and design courses for people with mental health and learning difficulties, and has been supplying art bags to children and adults with difficulties across Tynedale during coronavirus.

Founder Margaret Maughan said: “What we try and do at Minerva is to help people, with mental health and learning difficulties, to become artists in their own right, and we are delivering art bags to students, either by hand or post, filled with everything they need for their individual projects.

“Students, particularly with mental health issues, need to know people still care and we are really glad to be able to help”, said Margaret, who trained at Goldsmith’s College, London. “We really care about our students and want them to flourish.”

The centre, which was set up over 20 years ago, started with just two students, but has seen over 60 come through its doors over the years.

And whilst coronavirus may prevent face-to-face meetings, a number of activities are being planned for later in the year, including an art exhibition at Hexham Abbey.

Margaret added: “The students are currently making flags which will be displayed all around Hexham when its safe.”

The charity has benefited from support from Northumberland County Council.

“We are here for the individual, but also the community” said Margaret. “If anyone needs anything, they can get in touch, and we hope to start to make safety masks soon.”