By Kris Jepson
A community hub called Shildon Alive has become so popular it now needs bigger premises to cater for high demand.
The drop-in centre is a St John's Church community project and provides several services to the County Durham town, including advocate support, education and skills courses, addictions services, housing sessions, food banks, a credit union and gardening skills.
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Paula Nelson runs Shildon Alive and says she has asked the NHS if the group can lease out a nearby health centre building, which has been empty since January and, which she says, only had one room in use for over a year.
She claims the NHS Property Services were reluctant to lease the property and recently put the building on the market for auction. The building will be auctioned off on the 15 February.
Paula Nelson says the group would need to raise at least £100,000 to bid for the property at the auction, but so far has only raised 1 per cent of that amount by crowdfunding.
The NHS Property Services told ITV News it cannot lease out the property because it is against policy.