County Durham Community Foundation and Durham University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cement their new partnership. The two organisations are working on a number of joint initiatives to provide grants and in kind support to charities and voluntary groups from County Durham and Tees. 

As an agent for the Payroll Giving Scheme, County Durham Community Foundation will provide Durham University’s staff with the opportunity to donate to a charity of their choice, including the Durham University Staff Community Fund via regular payroll donations. 

The staff fund will be managed by a joint panel of representatives from the University with help from the Community Foundation. The Fund will support applications from any registered charity or voluntary group within County Durham and Tees Valley.

The University’s Staff and Student volunteering programmes, part of Experience Durham, provides the opportunity to take part in placements and team challenges with local community organisations. The new partnership will enable Experience Durham to increase the number of organisations they work with via the Community Foundation’s contacts. Additionally, University staff will provide support to members of the community and voluntary sector which will be facilitated by the Community Foundation.

Head of Staff Volunteering and Outreach at Experience Durham, Dr Andy Cattermole, and Barbara Gubbins, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, are working together to persuade other large employers within the County, to encourage greater participation in staff volunteering and payroll giving. 

Ray Hudson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Durham University, said:
“Durham University and County Durham Community Foundation both have a commitment to enhancing the education, health, economy and well-being of the people of County Durham, Darlington and Stockton, with disadvantaged communities being a particular priority. 
“Our two organisations have complementary aims and activities: Durham University is involved in generating knowledge and understanding in education, and University staff and students give significant time to local issues and communities. The Community Foundation raises and distributes funds as grants to local good causes that address identified need and disadvantage, seeking to improve quality of life for local residents. 

“The Memorandum of Understanding cements our relationship and will benefit the aims of both organisations, which will in turn benefit the local community as a whole.”

Mark I’Anson, chairman of the Community Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic having just completed our 20th anniversary year to develop this important partnership with Durham University and help to provide opportunities for staff and students to get involved with the local community. 
There are some great opportunities here for the community to benefit but also the staff and students of the University. Being involved in a community project or charity is extremely enriching and rewarding. We have to operate professionally in a very competitive market, so undergraduates and post-graduates can learn new skills and life experiences, while the projects can gain huge benefits from their expertise and enthusiasm.”