Derelict Hartlepool chapel to be transformed with help of the unemployed

The Morison Hall in Hartlepool with ex-forces workers. Left to right: Neil Hutchinson (Thirteen), Jamie Smith, Simon Scott (Project Manager Esh Property Services), Andrew Flanagan, Paul McCormick, Darren Pybus, Alex Loughborough (Site Manager), Ian Cushlow (Thirteen), Mark Dutton (Thirteen) and Aaron McKie.
The Morison Hall in Hartlepool with ex-forces workers. Left to right: Neil Hutchinson (Thirteen), Jamie Smith, Simon Scott (Project Manager Esh Property Services), Andrew Flanagan, Paul McCormick, Darren Pybus, Alex Loughborough (Site Manager), Ian Cushlow (Thirteen), Mark Dutton (Thirteen) and Aaron McKie.

A derelict former Methodist chapel in Hartlepool is to be brought back into use with the help of the unemployed.

Morison Memorial Hall on the Headland is being turned into eight apartments which will be let at an affordable rent.

The £1m programme is being overseen by Housing Hartlepool, in partnership with Hartlepool New Deal for Communities (NDC) and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Among those working on the building are trainees on an employability scheme run by the Ministry of Defence and JobCentre Plus.

The scheme gives the trainees the chance to learn new skills for work, and take part in a week-long military training exercise to develop their communication, team work and problem solving skills.

Work on the exterior of the building is complete.

The trainees will be helping transform the interior by fitting kitchens and decorating.

Malcolm Walker, chairman of NDC, said: “We are very impressed with the progress that has been made on the restoration so far.

“I am sure that people will be pleasantly surprised when they see what has been achieved at the end of the project.

“Utilising the enthusiasm of the trainees is an added bonus for the scheme, and it has provided an opportunity for them to gain new skills and experiences.”

Mark Dutton, of Housing Hartlepool, said the project is a special one, and will help breathe new life into the area.