Creating scrubs for the NHS, distributing groceries to people in food crisis and collecting prescriptions for self-isolating residents are just some of the ways a Consett organisation is using council funding to support its community.
Derwentside Trust, which operates from the town’s Glenroyd House, has been awarded £10,000 in funding from Durham County Council’s Derwent Valley Partnership, to help the area cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
All 14 of County Durham’s Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) have been allocated £100,000 each which they can offer to projects which are supporting communities during the outbreak. An additional £100,000 is available to support countywide initiatives.
The grant awarded to Derwentside Trust is being used to help vulnerable residents in and around Consett access essential services and supplies, including making food deliveries to families in financial difficulty, and collecting and delivering prescriptions for people who are shielding.
By making scrubs, face masks and headbands for NHS staff, the group is also ensuring that workers at the University of Durham Hospital and local medical practices have essential personal protective equipment. Many of the scrubs have been made using fabric printed with cartoon characters and superheroes, brightening up medical treatment for children.
Glenroyd House is also providing essential activity packs for children of varying ages to support their education and mental health, as well as keeping them occupied whilst they are at home. Packs for adults have also been developed and distributed to support mental health wellbeing, alongside exercise from home worksheets and leaflets around food safety and storage.
Mark Clelland, Chairperson of the Derwentside Trust, said “The funding that has been provided by Derwent Valley AAP has afforded us the opportunity to support our local people in the community with essential services at this unprecedented time. As a result of the grant, we have been able to provide lots of vital services including food parcels, medication collection and essential telephone support to members of our community who are self-isolating or shielding and lonely, making regular phone calls to keep in touch with them.
“All of these services are available during this pandemic 24 hours a day, seven days a week and thanks to the grant are completely free of charge. I’d like to say thank you to Derwent Valley Partnership for their support, as well as thanking our amazing group of volunteers who give up their time to support our community.
“Sadly, we anticipate many people will still need practical and mental health support for some time, and we are making provision now to support our community as government relaxes the lockdown and allows more social interaction.”
Corinne Walton, AAP co-ordinator for Derwent Valley Partnership, said: “It is great that our AAP has been able to support Derwentside Trust. There is no doubt that their initiatives have made life more comfortable for many people in our community who, without this level of support, advice and guidance, would have no doubt been in a very difficult circumstance.”
The Derwentside Trust can be contacted for further information or to make a referral for help by calling 01207 297 349 between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday, or calling 07772 679339 outside of these hours, including weekends.
Further information about the 14 Area Action Partnerships which cover the county can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/aaps