Businesses rally to fight poverty and enrich local lives

County Durham’s business community has once again come together to support our annual Poverty Hurts Appeal 2022, which will officially launch on November 4th.

The £1m appeal, founded in response to the cost-of-living crisis will support families choosing between heating and eating (and those who can afford neither), older people at risk of poor health and death due to cold homes, young people leaving care, children without warm winter coats and many more. Around 32,000 local children and young people in the county are classed as living in poverty, while recent research published by the North East Child Poverty Commission revealed that almost two in five of the region’s children are living in poverty – the highest rate of any UK nation or region. 

Donations from the county’s businesses will unlock match funding to bring about long-term solutions, as well as providing immediate support to those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Kate Sowden, NFU Mutual’s Agent and Group Secretary, who is based in Durham, said grassroots support was key to deciding where to place £3,000 raised through the agency’s giving fund.

She said: ““What struck me about Poverty Hurts was the ways in which funds can be allocated to some amazing concerns in the area that I wouldn’t have heard of had the foundation not been involved – from breakfast clubs for children to community centres providing essential support.”

You can support our appeal with a one-off donation through our charity giving page, or, like  Sandringham Financial Partners, a Darlington-based independent financial advisory firm co-founded by Rachel Denham, make regular contributions.

Rachel grew up on a local council estate and put herself through a Youth Training Scheme so she could support her mum, who had several jobs to make ends meet for their family.

She said: “I know what it’s like to have aspirations that feel impossible, so it was really important to me that right from the beginning of the business we would give something back to the local community. The foundation is the ideal recipient of that support as it’s there for the local causes that often fall through the cracks.” 

Durham Business Group also champions Poverty Hurts through its Friendly Forty project, through which 40 group members will sign up to become ‘friends’ of Poverty Hurts, giving regular donations over a year in sustainable amounts that are right for those individual businesses.

CEO Alison Gittins said: “We know how far the County Durham Community Foundation team can make donations stretch, making a difference to so many across our region, and this year’s cost-of-living crisis brings additional challenge, with families having to choose between heating and eating.

“At Durham Business Group we know that when we work together, the magic happens! There’s a long way to go but with the strength and commitment of our business community and the belief and passion of the foundation in supporting those communities in need, together we can achieve.”

Our CEO Michelle Cooper added: “We’ll help all our Poverty Hurts supporters maximise their giving, to make a real and lasting difference to individuals, families and causes in the area.

“Last year, one £1,000 grant alone helped 186 people, including 81 children, so every penny will make a huge difference to people facing crisis and hardship because we’ll match it with 50p to create a future legacy of ongoing support across County Durham.”

Support the appeal at or to receive an appeal information pack, email or call us on 0191 378 6340.