History of Darlington Mind

Darlington Mind is a local organization affiliated to Mind, the National Association for Mental Health. Mind has a high profile nationally and runs a variety of national campaigns to improve services, raise awareness, promote understanding, help reduce stigma and assist with the development of new services for people with mental health problems.

Darlington Mind was established in 1979 because it was recognised that there was a lack of social outlets and support for people with mental health problems. Over the following 35 years Darlington Mind has grown substantially and now offers a wide range of recovery support services to hundreds of people a year.

The major developments throughout our history are as follows:

1979: Darlington Mind began as a series of social clubs for people with mental health problems and developed further over the next few years starting with the introduction of Counselling support.

1983: Darlington Mind established its first Housing provision named the ‘Group Living Scheme’. This was a house with shared living for three people and was in the heart of the community. This was a pioneering step forward and much needed service for the people of Darlington & the surrounding area.

1987: Darlington Mind and Darlington Housing Association became partners, with the collaborative aim of finding a suitable property to provide housing for people leaving hospital and/or who could not manage in their current property who needed additional short/medium term support and whose long term goal was to move on to independence.

1990: Darlington Mind moved into St Hilda’s House in Borough Road. These premises made it possible to
increase the housing support to a further nine people and, in addition, the space to provide day services including
a social club, counselling, art and relaxation classes. .

1997, 2000 & 2002:Darlington Mind extended their housing portfolio, again in partnership with Darlington
Housing Association, with the purchase of four self-contained flats.

1999:Darlington Housing Association purpose built two self contained flats and an Activities Studio in the grounds of the Borough Road site so that Darlington Mind could extend its facilities.

2002:Darlington Mind became an approved British Computer Society (BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT) Test Centre, offering the ECDL qualification alongside the existing CLAIT and non accredited courses in a supportive and therapeutic environment.

2004:Darlington Mind took on the lease of St Hilda’s Hall and began providing additional services to older people with dementia. The IT project also moved into new larger classrooms which allow a greater number of people to access the project.

2006:Darlington Mind added the ECDL Advanced qualifications to its IT portfolio.

2008:Darlington Mind welcomed the introduction of the Positivity Through Activity project to the people of Darlington.

2009:Darlington Mind celebrated 30 years of being at the forefront of high quality mental health service delivery. It supported nearly 700 people with mental health problems in just one year (the highest on record), commenced Anger Management courses & 1:1 sessions and began to operate its first ever dedicated service in the Durham Dales area.

2010: After moving out of the Borough Road premises for six months, tenants were delighted to return to a re-configured and modernized home. Unit capacity increased to 10 with private en-suite facilities and a new panoramic lounge to the 2nd floor.

2011:Darlington Mind introduced The Green Project to the day service portfolio and also, in association with other local Minds in the region, commenced the Rapid Response Suicide Prevention service.

2012: Purchase and refurbishment of St Hilda’s Hall including: two new computer suites; updated Day Care Centre for people with dementia; a new look Art room; the opening of the Mood Food Cafe; the introduction of the Activity Hub Group.

2013: Start of the nationally recognised Emotional Resilience project.

2014: added a further two properties to our housing stock and secured funding from the Health Lottery to develop and expand our Emotional Resilience Project.

2015: provided new Adult Learning classes for more than 100 people with mental health issues, started a new multi-disciplinary team project and secure funding from Comic Relief to provide additional day of dementia day care, including on a Saturday.

2016: Hosted a major Regional Conference for World Mental Health Day and secured £118,000 from BBC Children in Need to develop a project to support young people who are affected by self-harm

2017: Darlington Mind and Mental Health Support (MHS) merged. Providing new services across Darlington, South Durham, Hambleton and Richmondshire.

Secured funding from the Lottery to host a Celebrating Good Mental Health awareness day in Darlington’s Market Square. The event was attended by more than 1000 people.

2019: Darlington Mind celebrates its 40th birthday in 2019.

Over the last 35 years Darlington Mind has assisted over 10,000 people.

It continues to offer a selection of different wellbeing and recovery services, has an annual turnover in excess of £1M per annum and is supported by over 75 Volunteers.

We operate throughout the Borough of Darlington, the Durham Dales, South Durham, North Yorkshire and work collaboratively with colleagues across the North East with other Local Minds on a range of cross boundary mental health services. Darlington Mind will maintain its commitment to provide high quality support & recovery services to people with mental health and emotional problems in our region.