A year of celebration is launched today as County Durham Community Foundation reaches its 20th anniversary of distributing millions of pounds to good causes.

Youngsters from the Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome, one of many organisations supported by CDCF since June 29 1985, kicked off the 20th anniversary with a balloon launch.

CDCF manages almost 200 funds in County Durham and Darlington, giving out over £28m to individuals and organisations and is holding a series of events to mark its 20th birthday.

Chief Executive Barbara Gubbins said: “We are delighted to be launching our 20th anniversary celebration with some of the children we have been able to support.
“We are all very proud of how the funds we manage are changing lives for the better and making a lasting difference to the people of County Durham.”
The Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome provides personalised educational strategies for each child alongside advice and training for those who are responsible for their care.

Set up in 2005, the centre has benefited from almost £15,000 in grants from CDCF. Based in Newton Aycliffe with an outreach group in Hexham, Northumberland it welcomes children from across the North of England, with one full time worker and 10 part time workers, 28 volunteers and 70 members.

The centre’s founder, Maggie Hart said: “The grants we receive from CDCF are vital. They have helped us grow so that we now support more than 50 children and their families. We are honoured to be involved in the 20th anniversary launch and the children are very excited.”
Among other events planned to mark CDCF’s 20th anniversary is a black tie dinner at Durham Castle on April 17 with businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley as guest speaker, and there will be a special service at Durham Cathedral on June 29.

CDCF chairman Mark I’Anson said: “For 20 years we have been bringing people together to achieve their potential, fulfil their aspirations and build thriving communities. Our goal is to give something back to the community by building a long-term endowment to support the people of County Durham and Darlington in the future.

“The 20th anniversary is an opportunity for us to re-inforce these principles, raise our profile and attract more donors to enable us to help more people as well as to thank all those who have supported our work.”
Banks Group, UBS Wealth Management and Ward Hadaway are among the companies sponsoring the 20th anniversary celebrations.