Rishi Sunak MP has officially opened a new centre designed to help Army families and veterans.
Clervaux Fold at Croft, near Darlington, works with families and ex-Service personnel at Catterick Garrison.
The centre provides therapeutic activities to give the families positive, practical experiences, which help them to bond and restore their sense of well-being.
The Fold was funded with the help of a £470,000 LIBOR grant.
It is made up of a variety of craft workshops, a kitchen, dining area and lounge, as well as newly- planted gardens to grow produce for the kitchen.
During his visit to Clervaux, Mr Sunak also saw some of the other programmes delivered at its Clow Beck site which provides day and residential care places to young people and adults with complex learning and behavioural difficulties and supports them in gaining training and further education.
These include the Clervaux Garden School for children with learning difficulties. The school opened in December 2019 and caters for young people aged 10-19.
He met Harry, one of the students, who told him how important the centre had been to him, and also toured the centre’s farm where together they fed some lambs.
At the veteran’s woodcraft shelter, Mr Sunak tried his hand on the pole lathe and spoke to veterans about their experiences.
Mr Sunak said he was delighted to finally visit Clow Beck after his plans to open The Fold had to be postponed by the pandemic.
He said: “It’s wonderful to see the LIBOR money put to such good use in support of our Veterans and Army families.
“The Fold is a fantastic facility and a splendid addition to what is on offer at Clow Beck for those who have special needs and require additional help.”
Lone Helliwell, The Fold centre manager, said: “We were delighted that Rishi could visit and see what has been achieved here and how we are working with families and veterans from Catterick.
“The last year has been very difficult for Service families with loved ones on deployment so we are delighted that we can continue to develop our programmes – for our Services families but also, in the future, with local families too.”
The LIBOR grant scheme opened in 2012 and is now closed having disbursed £773m to Armed Forces and emergency services charities.
Following an investigation by financial regulators in 2012 it was revealed that several banks in the US and the EU were manipulating Libor, a benchmark interest rate for inter bank loans, for profit.
UK regulators fined the banks £688 million with all proceeds going to benefit the public.
In 2015 an additional £284 million fine for manipulating foreign exchange markets was added to the Libor Fund, bringing the total amount allocated to the fund to £973 million.