Three people hold a giant pink Thank you Card.

Our Poverty Hurts Appeal, which we launched in November 2022, has reached and exceeded our ambitious goal of raising £1 million.

The Poverty Hurts Appeal has seen donations from thousands of people across the region, as well as businesses committed to making a difference in local communities.

The funds raised are being distributed to local community groups, volunteer projects, individuals and families in need of support.

But it’s a bittersweet milestone as we are seeing the need increase across County Durham.

Our Chief Executive, Michelle said “It would be really easy to stand here and congratulate ourselves at a time like this, but it’s vitally important to remember that the need is actually growing. There are more people than ever in County Durham that are feeling the effects of rising prices, and it’s pushing more and more people over the poverty line.

“Thankfully, we have generous supporters and fundholders, who either hold long-term funds with us, or who make regular or one-off donations. It’s their support and commitment to making a difference that has allowed us to reach this target and enabled us to support thousands of people in County Durham. There’s no way to begin to adequately thank them.”

In the last nine months alone, we have awarded £5.5 million in grants to groups, compared with £4.9 million in the 12 months previous. A clear sign the growing need continues, we’re talking and meeting with charities and community groups every day, and what we know is they’re doing everything, trying to support more people than ever, with less funding than ever. There is so much more work to be done to make sure people aren’t choosing between heating and eating, to make sure children are well-fed, healthy and nourished.

To mark the appeal passing the £1 million milestone, Michelle visited just a few of the charities and voluntary organisations we’ve been able to support thanks to the generous donations of our supporters.

Watch this short video of community groups supporting people from all walks of life in County Durham and beyond.

Speaking during the visit she commented: “Seeing the tangible impact of the funds and the difference they are making to real lives is genuinely heart-warming. The generosity of donors and supporters is overwhelming, and I am hopeful we can work together to fight poverty over the winter months.”

Darren McMahon from PACT House in Stanley said: “The funding has supported our foodbank which is a mix of waste food we collect each day from supermarkets and cash and carries and also provides a crisis food bank which is tinned and long-life items to help someone over a little bump in their life. It also helps a community café which provides three free meals a week. When we started the foodbank, we were seeing 20 or 25 people a week, now we’re seeing sometimes up to 50 people a day.”

Jemma Hewitson, manager at Sherburn Hill Community Hub said: “I’d like to say thank you for supporting us and keeping our doors open. It’s a place where everyone can come and feel warm, safe and loved as well. I think if places like this didn’t exist a lot of people wouldn’t have places to go to feel warm and safe.”

Siobhan Viggars (pictured above) from Beyond Limits added: “We help anyone in the community that is vulnerable, whether that is poverty, bereavement or physical or mental ill health. The support from County Durham Community Foundation has been absolutely amazing. It has enabled us to continue to purchase the food, household goods and everything we need to actually deliver that emergency aid.” 

SPECIAL REQUEST: Winter Fuel Payments

We’re asking for donations no matter how small to go towards the Poverty Hurts Appeal this winter, to support local people living in poverty. With Winter Fuel payments allocated to everyone over the age of 66, we ask those who may receive the allowance but are fortunate enough not to need it, to consider donating to the Poverty Hurts Appeal, get in touch with us at info@cdcf.org.uk.

Anyone in County Durham donating their Winter Fuel payment to the Foundation can have their donation matched, meaning they double the difference they make to people who need it this winter.