Money awarded to community groups at work during the lockdown crisis is helping those experiencing crisis.

£1.4 million of taxpayer money was made available by Durham County Council to its 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs), to allocate to groups who are working hard to provide support at a grass roots level across the county.

Amongst the AAPs benefitting from the funding, Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership (GAMP) has used some of its allocated £100,000 to support 13 projects, including a variety of projects such as foodbanks, resident support packages, transport schemes and youth support.

Junction 7 is one such group to gain support from GAMP. Based in Newton Aycliffe, the group provides crisis support for people experiencing poverty. Its work includes emergency food, preloved clothing & school uniforms, furniture scheme, credit union, preloved clothing, and one-to-one advice for people in crisis.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, Junction 7 has operated a referral system for food packages out of its base in The ARK at Silverdale Place, where a team of volunteers put packs together and organise their compliant distribution and collection.
Junction 7 successfully applied for £4,810 through the GAMP coronavirus fund, allowing the continued provision of much-needed food and essentials to families across Newton Aycliffe.

The service has also obtained support from local county councillors Cllr Kate Hopper and Cllr Eddy Adam, through their Small Grants fund, to provide advertisement for the organisation in the form of two pop-up banners, placed outside the building.

Brian Riley, GAMP coordinator said: “Junction 7 has provided an invaluable service to Newton Aycliffe residents … Volunteers connected to Junction 7 have been faultless in their dedication to helping our community’s most vulnerable residents, and their efforts are greatly appreciated by the Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership Board.”

Simon Day, volunteer at Junction 7, said: “We have seen an increase in demand for our service since the outbreak, receiving more referrals each week. The funding received will help us greatly in supporting these additional families, that find themselves in need during this difficult time.

“We felt it was also important that people know where we are, which was why we approached councillors for funding to help purchase some advertising banners.

“I would also like to thank the numerous volunteers who have given their time each week to help support the scheme, without this support we would struggle to cope with the demand.”

Some other organisations funded include Newton Aycliffe Play Café, Great Aycliffe Cancer Support, Newton Aycliffe Workingmen’s Club, Newton News and Roc Solid.

For further information on support available in the area please check or call 03000 260 260.

Funding is still available, and applicants are encouraged to contact the GAMP team to discuss project proposals and/or request further information and guidance on applying. Email [email protected]

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