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Latest news

Coronavirus: DCC Community Hub

Published: Thursday 16 April 2020

We understand that  the coronavirus is making life very difficult for many people and it can be difficult to access the basics.  Many of you will be getting help and support from friends relatives or local support groups.

If you don't have anyone to pick up medication, please contact your community pharmacy and / or if you are unable to access support for help with essentials such as food supplies or someone who can listen to and support you, please contact us

If you are a local voluntary group, local business or other agency offering ot help in the community, why not join our community hub to help people find support in this time of crisis - it is free, just complete our form at or call 03000 260260.  You will receive a call to verify your details and your serve added to Locate.

Latest coronavirus information and advice is available at


DWP publishes coronavirus advice for claimants facing sanctions

Published: Tuesday 14 April 2020

They have insisted “discretion” will be used to stop people on benefits being penalised.

Universal Credit claimants have been told they won’t be penalised if they have to self-isolate with coronavirus.

Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for the DWP, said “discretion” will be used for people on benefits fearing sanctions for not turning up to job centre appointments.

In a statement, she said: “The department is fully prepared for all eventualities and has conducted extensive planning against reasonable worst-case scenarios.

Survey for proposed project at Canney Hill

Published: Monday 3 February 2020
Survey for proposed project at Canney Hill

Durham Community Action are supporting the CIC, Canney Communities, to undertake a Housing Needs Survey. We are seeking views on a proposed Project, a new build at a site in Canney Hill, Bishop Auckland. The scheme would be to create accessible housing to address the needs of disabled people and their families living in County Durham, but particularly Bishop Auckland. We are especially keen to prioritise the needs of young disabled people to live independently.

This survey will help provide us with essential guidance on the current housing opportunities and needs, helping the community to resist plans for development on inappropriate sites, but supporting development of the right type and in the right places.

If you would like to participate, please complete the survey via the link below.

For further information, please contact Durham Community Action – Tel:  01388 742040   Email:  

Social landlords to get direct payments of benefits under UC changes

Published: Tuesday 21 January 2020

The Department of Work and Pensions has written to housing associations to confirm the changes to the way Universal Credit is paid to social landlords.

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed they are testing a new system to pay social landlords direct payments of benefit.

This would see landlords receiving money from the DWP at the same time the tenant receives their Universal Credit payment.

Third Party Deductions for outstanding arrears will still be channeled through the four-weekly Third-Party Creditor schedule.

The idea is that if the test is successful, it would be fully rolled out to all social landlords in early 2020.



Housing support for armed forces in County Durham

Published: Tuesday 17 September 2019
Housing support for armed forces in County Durham

Armed forces personnel, both serving and retired, can now access extra support through their social landlords, thanks to an outreach project in County Durham.

The Armed Forces Outreach Service (AFOS) is a local authority partnership which Durham County Council has been a part of since 2017. It was created to support servicemen and women, reservists, veterans and their families with issues such as housing, benefits, employment, finances and health and well-being.

Thanks to initial funding from the Armed Forces Community Covenant the council has now committed to continue to host two outreach workers to be based between the authority’s housing solutions team and the partners of Durham Key Options, which includes housing providers such as believe housing, Karbon Homes, Livin and North Star, until April 2020.

The outreach workers, who are ex-service personnel, work closely with clients to help them get access to the services they need. They carry out various duties, including conducting assessments and arranging meetings, all with the aim of helping individuals and families find support for many issues, such as financial concerns, health problems, and housing.

RAF veteran, Jeffery Davidson, served in the forces for 23 years. When his partner passed away a few years ago he was referred into the outreach service. The 61-year-old, from Brandon, said: “I have been in a very dark place since the death of my fiancé four years ago. However, with the help of AFOS giving me something to focus on and a belief in life, I now feel there is a life worth living, if just for my kids.”

Fifty-two-year-old Keith Hopkins, from Easington Village, spent 10 years serving in the Royal Artillery. He was feeling uneasy in a privately rented home due to some incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area.

Keith said: “I was referred to the Armed Forces Outreach Service by a housing provider. Steve of the Armed Forces Outreach Service and Janice of believe housing quickly found me a suitable property and I had moved in a fortnight later.

“I am now settled in a nice property in Easington Village and would like to thank all staff involved for their help.”

Cllr Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “No member of the armed forces community should ever face disadvantage and we have a good understanding of some of the barriers that the armed forces personnel and their families could face when trying to secure a home.

“We would like to encourage people to get in contact with our outreach service to find out more about what support is on offer.”

In the last 12 months, the service has helped over 100 former service personnel and their families in County Durham.

Referrals can be made either through a tenant’s social landlord (if with Karbon Homes, believe housing, Livin or North Star) and via Durham County Council’s housing advice line on 03000 268 000 or by emailing

For more information visit