County Durham Community Foundation’s Poverty Hurts appeal has raised close to £ 1 million to support community-focused organisations fighting the causes and consequences of poverty in the North East.
The campaign came very close to achieving its lofty ambition of raising £ 1 million. Thanks to the kind donations and support of the people and businesses of the North East, the Foundation is now distributing over £945,000 to charities, community initiatives and projects which are supporting people across County Durham and the Tees Valley that are facing hardship because of the cost-of-living crisis.
The figure was revealed to Poverty Hurts supporters at a special online event earlier this month, hosted by Chris McDonald, who launched the appeal in November alongside the Foundation’s Chief Executive, Michelle Cooper MBE.
Attendees also heard from those tackling poverty on the front line, thanks to the support from Poverty Hurts, Susan Mansaray of Purple Rose Stockton CIC, who support refugees and asylum seekers in Stockton, and Gemma O’Brien from Sacriston Youth and Community Project who are a whole of family service.
Ending stigma and helping people to ‘feel normal’ is at the heart of the work of these projects; Susan Mansaray of Purple Rose Stockton CIC said, “We support asylum seekers and refugees coming into Stockton, every week we run a Friday drop-in, and we see 80 or more people every single week. We provide food and basic essentials and just a welcome place. The whole idea behind the drop-in was so people can socialise, feel welcome and feel normal. Because I didn’t feel normal when I was going through the system.”
Gemma O’Brien of Sacriston Youth Youth and Community Project said, “We do things from cookery classes to baby and toddler groups to employability support and community meals; we cut across all aspects of life and respond to what the residents of Sacriston tell us they need. We’ve seen covid and the cost-of-living crisis compound the poverty in our area. We’re always providing food, snacks and drinks! The conversations people have over food are different, and you really get to hear and understand what’s going on in the community and how we could be responsive to needs. People know they can always come and eat with us. And we couldn’t do this without the support of County Durham Community Foundation.”
Michelle Cooper MBE, Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation, said: “The Poverty Hurts Appeal might have ended, but poverty certainly hasn’t. We continue to work tirelessly to support the region’s most amazing people and community groups, who often work without recognition to improve local people’s lives and life chances.
“We’re hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed towards this enormous sum, which will make a lasting difference to people’s quality of life. This is not the end; poverty and life outcome inequality continue to grow. It is not right that in 2023, one-third of children in the North East live below the poverty line. We’ll keep supporting our community partners, who are working hard to fight poverty and enrich lives.”
The County Durham Community Foundation’s Poverty Hurts Appeal has:
- raised over £945,000 since November 2022
- already distributed over £620,000 of the total
- supported 33,277 people through charities and community groups
Michelle added: “County Durham Community Foundation is paddling against the tide, but with the many incredible community groups rowing alongside us, we are making a huge difference.”