Partnerships continue to offer financial backing for grocery shopping and delivery schemes across County Durham

Organisations in Consett, Shildon and Durham City are among the many projects to have received a grant from one of Durham County Council’s Area Action Partnerships (AAPs), to enable them to help their communities during the government’s lockdown and closure of small businesses.

Consett ‘food4u’ Foodbank

Consett ‘food4u’ foodbank is another group which has recently benefitted from AAP funding and is providing for those most in need.

The organisation, which is part of Durham Foodbank/Durham Christian Partnership, was awarded £2,000 from Derwent Valley AAP.

The funding is being used to increase its space for storage and interviewing clients, help with rent, purchasing a larder freezer and building food stocks, as donations have dropped severely since the start of the lockdown.

Margaret Nealis, from Consett ‘food4u’, said: “The team at Consett foodbank thanks the Derwent Valley AAP for its recent generous donation to our funds. The foodbank has been active in Consett for almost nine years and hopes to continue for some time to come.

“Obviously, because of the pandemic, no-one is certain how things will look when a return to ‘normal’ is achieved, but we expect that there will be a larger number of people in need of help than ever before – many will not be able to return to their jobs, businesses may close, and there is likely to be an unprecedented number of Universal Credit claims.”

Further information about Consett ‘food4u’ can be found online at www.durhamlocate.org.uk

Citysafe, Durham

Citysafe in Durham City is one organisation which has had to change how it operates over recent weeks. The group, which was founded last year to provide first aid and medical support to people enjoying the city’s nightlife, is now offering a shopping and delivery service to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

The charity was recently awarded a grant of £2,423 from the Durham AAP to buy essential communication equipment, protective personal equipment for its volunteers and trolley bags to help when sorting people’s shopping.

The award comes from a £1.4 million taxpayer pot, which the council has allocated across the county’s 14 Area Action Partnerships, to help local community organisations stay afloat.

Kieren Stephenson, one of CitySafe’s founders said: “It’s been a very difficult time for us as a charity, adapting our work to meet the needs of the community, whilst also keeping all of our volunteers as safe as possible. We’ve been overjoyed to receive funding from Durham AAP that has enabled us to continue the rapid expansion and adaptation of our services getting help where it’s needed fast. We’ve helped over 800 people in the past few weeks, and we continue to take more and more referrals and requests every day. Thanks to the funding and our brilliant team of resilient volunteers, we’re able to help our service users either the same or the next day”.

“We thank all of our funders private and corporate, our dedicated volunteers and our fantastic suppliers for their continued support in these very difficult times.”

Anyone who needs assistance from, or who is able to offer assistance to, CitySafe can contact them by calling 0191 359 2365 or emailing coronavirus@citysafedurham.co.uk

Shildon Alive

People in Shildon, Eldon, Dene Valley and surrounding villages are receiving crisis support in response to the lockdown from Shildon Alive, which has also been awarded AAP funding.

Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP supported the group with a grant of £4,999, which is being used to help provide essential food deliveries to families and individuals forced into food crisis, food delivery to people who are self-isolating and a telephone support helpline.

The AAP funding means that the area’s most vulnerable residents can access fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and cupboard staples, as well as toiletries, baby milk and nappies.

Paula Nelson, community project coordinator at Shildon Alive, said: “Thanks to our AAP for helping us secure funding so quickly in these challenging times. It has been a worrying time as, although we had some store cupboard items in our foodbank, demand increased five-fold within a matter of weeks. We are delivering to vulnerable older residents and those who are shielding, as well as families who are struggling due to issues around self-employment and new universal credit claims due to unemployment.”

For more information about Shildon Alive, telephone its helpline, 01388 417 600, Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm, or visit its website at www.shildonalive.org.uk

Gordon Elliott, Durham County Council’s head of partnerships and community engagement, said: “We are very grateful for the work being done by these essential community groups. Without their efforts many vulnerable people would be struggling under the current circumstances. I’m delighted that we have been able to help CitySafe, Consett Foodbank and Shildon Alive with these grants and that their services are being well-used.”

Further information about Durham County Council’s AAPs can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/AAPs. The website also includes contact details for all 14 of the county’s individual AAPs.


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