A foodbank and money advice service that helps more than 15,000 people is being expanded with Lottery funding.
The £397,230 Big Lottery Fund grant to the Durham Christian Partnership is one of ten awards totalling £2.7m to North-East organisations.
The Partnership helps families and individuals referred to it because they are struggling on low incomes or have debt problems
It will increase its emergency food distribution points in rural areas, create 60 more volunteer posts and provide more debt and welfare advice.
It estimates that over the next three years the foodbank will benefit at least 25,000 people and the debt advice service will support up to 500 people.
Its chairman of trustees, Peter MacLellan, said:
“In three years the foodbank has grown from one distribution point to 25 and provided three days of food to more than 15,000 people in the last 12 months – up from 10,803 in the previous 12 months.
“Low income, debt and issues with the benefit system have been the major causes of crisis.
“Many people are only one pay cheque away from a financial crisis, so attendees can come from all backgrounds, the homeless, people in affluent neighbourhoods, people who have never needed benefits, those who are dependent on them.
“Recognising that a food crisis is usually a symptom of other challenges faced by people, the foodbank is keen to extend the support it provides to help address the underlying needs and ensure that those attending it get all the support they need.
“This grant from the Big Lottery Fund will help us to achieve this aim, restoring some measure of hope and confidence to people who find themselves in a very difficult time.”
Source – Durham Times, 16 Dec 2014