A MOTHER of two is close to achieving her mission of establishing a new community centre in the South Lakes following a £120,000 cash boost from generous donors.

The newly formed charity, Outside-In Cumbria, is set to move into its new premises in Kendal this month, making a dream come true for vet and aspiring children’s author, Mhairi Helme, who first came up with the concept three years ago.

Along with her husband, John, Mrs Helme carried out a survey of which around 600 parents in Kendal responded expressing a ‘big wish’ on the project to become a reality.

Along with donations from the community, The National Lottery Community Fund has also helped Mrs Helme to bring her idea to life by awarding a grant of £60,000.

Other funders also include South Lakeland District Council, the Frieda Scott Trust, Kendal Lions and Windermere Lions.

“From our heart we would like to thank everyone who has made this project possible,” said Mrs Helm.

“We could not have succeeded without the support of local families, and the donors.

“We set out with the aim of asking the town to help us in our goal and the town has responded. Their help, coupled with the wonderful Lottery award, has made this project possible.”

Based on Beezon Road, in Kendal, Outside-In will provide the town with an indoor play area and ‘role-play’ facilities – including a miniature replica of Kendal high street, complete with child-sized local businesses, and a soft-play version of the town’s castle – as well as a range of stimulating, educational activities aimed at young children.

Parents from local autism support groups have been closely involved in the centre’s design. Outside-In aims to host a publicly available ‘changing places’ washroom facilities. These include specialist equipment for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities or those with physical conditions whose needs are not met by regular accessible toilets.

The centre will be a place for families in the area who have children with different needs to meet and spend time together making friends.

Staff will be trained to better understand and support parents experiencing loneliness and post-natal depression and to help parents of children with additional needs.

Mrs Helme said: “We aim to create somewhere warm, friendly, supportive, inclusive and very special for children which is available to everyone no matter what their financial circumstances.

“We have the support of hundreds of parents and families as well as local charities and service providers who will benefit greatly from the project.”