Northern Echo, Darlington.
Northern Echo, Darlington.

Darlington to welcome Adult Skills Centre following “landmark” building purchase

Darlington Borough Council has unveiled plans to transform the landmark Northern Echo building into an Adult Skills Centre.

The Northern Echo newspaper will remain in the building as an anchor tenant.

Using funding from the Towns Fund and Tees Valley Combined Authority, the ground floor will be refurbished and converted into an Adult Skills Centre, offering people the opportunity to pick up new skills and qualifications, whether to start their career path, retrain in a new industry or pick up employment training.

The building will also feature a communal entrance, reception and resources base, a large teaching office and meeting spaces. The upper floors will be fully refurbished to provide much needed high quality office space in the town centre.

Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “The Echo building is one of our town’s most iconic buildings – up there with the clock tower and Victorian covered market in terms of being instantly recognisable to Darlington people.

“We want to support local employers with the talent they need to grow, creating better skilled workforces and more jobs. This investment ticks those boxes.”

Angela Howey, chair, Towns Fund Board, commented: “We are looking to co-design programmes with Darlington College, the council, TVCA, Teesside University and local businesses to increase productivity and create sustainable jobs.

“The regeneration of the famous building aims to provide a holistic location for those seeking to bolster their existing employability skills or transition into high-demand employment opportunities such as finance, engineering, or logistics.

“The centre will give people the skills they need. We are working closely with Darlington College to maximise the offerings that can be delivered as part of this scheme and enhance the educational provision delivered in the town centre.”

David Coates, MD, Northern Echo, added: “I am delighted the building will be in such safe hands and will continue to play a vital role for the community, with the Echo itself remaining at the heart of the town.”

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