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Grants up for grabs to help communities celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Published: Tuesday 15 March 2022

COMMUNITY groups wanting to get people together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee could receive hundreds of pounds towards their event, from believe housing.

The County Durham-based housing association is inviting not-for-profit organisations to apply for grants of up to £500 to host a one-off Jubilee event or activity.

“If your organisation wants to bring people together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee but needs helping funding it, we would love to hear from you,” says Community Investment Performance Team Leader for believe housing, Damian Pearson.

“believe housing could help towards costs such as equipment, venue hire, food or entertainment through our community grant scheme, which is there to support projects that make a real difference to people's lives and wellbeing.

“We welcome applications from not-for-profit and voluntary organisations as well as schools and town and parish councils in the areas we operate in.

“This is the perfect time to plan a community event to celebrate this momentous occasion and after so long apart due to the pandemic.”

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was on Sunday, February 6, the date the Queen acceded to the throne on the death of her father, George VI, in 1952, but the official celebrations will run from June 2 to 5, 2022.

One group already celebrating a grant from believe housing is West Auckland Memorial Community Association, which received £500 towards a community get-together with live music on the afternoon of Saturday, June 4.

Treasurer of West Auckland Memorial Community Association, Dave Williamson, said: “It’s brilliant. We’re really over the moon that we’ve got someone funding us.

“We’re going to have a day for the people of West Auckland and St Helen Auckland and around the area.

“We’re going to have a live singer, bingo and a buffet.”

“And we’ll raise a glass of sherry to the Queen,” added committee member Sheila Williamson.

For more information or to apply visit

Picture caption: Volunteers who are organising a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee community get-together at West Auckland Memorial Community Centre

Grant for Peterlee wellbeing project for community classroom

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2022

A COMMUNITY project which takes a holistic approach to improving mental wellbeing is expanding so it can support hundreds more people.

CALM in East Durham runs formal programs, creative classes, a cafe and workshops such as yoga and meditation from its base at the old bowling green on Low Hills Road, in Peterlee.

All its activities are based on yogic principles and people are welcomed into a supportive community, which nurtures their emotional and mental resilience.

Now, with demand for its services growing, the Community Interest Company is expanding with a new dedicated community classroom.

The £30,500 BHAKTI Studio project is being made possible with a £20,000 grant from County Durham-based housing association believe housing.

Funding is also being provided by Durham County Council’s East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) through the Neighbourhood budget of County Councillors Susan Macdonald, Louise Fenwick, Karen Hawley, Terry Duffy and Diane Howarth.

Along with the new classroom, the project will include a storage container, a dedicated community development worker and weekly classes.

The facility will provide additional space for CALM in East Durham’s activities, including arts and crafts classes, and it will be available to other community groups to hire.

It is also expected to support about five people into employment training.

Barbara Chrisp, senior tutor and director of CALM in East Durham, said: “Our community is about kindness, support and balance.

“We’re not a crutch for people, instead we help them stand on their own two feet, supporting them with physical, mental or emotional challenges.

“This extra space is going to be such an amazing thing.

“We started in 2019 and have wonderful outside space but have very quickly outgrown the indoor space.

“Having an extra classroom is going to give a permanent home to the arts and crafts side of our work and will double our capacity almost overnight.”

Debbie Howe, community investment coordinator at believe housing, said: “We believe in life without barriers so when we learnt of the work CALM in East Durham is doing to support people, no matter what challenges they face, we were keen to get onboard.

“Our community investment grants enable communities to improve people’s mental and physical health, build their confidence and support employability training.

“So, we are delighted to make this award of £20,000 to help CALM in East Durham improve the lives and wellbeing of many more people, including believe housing customers.”

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Employment specialist appointed to oversee North Tyne with government Levelling Up funding

Published: Wednesday 22 December 2021

EN:Able Futures, the employment and training delivery arm of regional social housing consortium Efficiency North, has been commissioned to develop projects boosting employment in the region.

The partnership of local providers, Karbon Homes, Your Homes Newcastle, Northumberland County Council, Bernicia, North Tyneside Council, and Changing Lives, has received £717k from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The fund is a key initiative in the government’s Levelling Up agenda aiming to support people and communities most in need throughout the UK. Read here to find out more

Older people need more support to keep warm

Published: Wednesday 22 December 2021

A poll carried out by charity Age UK has found that a third of over-60s are concerned about affording their energy bills this winter, with a similar proportion expecting to have to reduce the amount of energy they use to stay within their means.  Overall, 45% are worried about staying warm over the winter, leading to the charity calling on the Government to take urgent action.  The charity's new report, Cost of Cold has found that around 1m older households are living in fuel poverty, and it is calling for a doubling of the existing Household Support Fund to £1bn to help heat vulnerable older households.

Source:The Independent UK

Durham communities given £120,000 opportunity

Published: Wednesday 10 November 2021

A new funding programme is giving groups in County Durham the chance to bid for tens of thousands of pounds.

The Community Capital Grant fund has been created to help improve health and wellbeing, job prospects or improve the environment in neighbourhoods across the county.

Charities, schools or community groups working in more than a hundred towns and villages across the area can bid for up to £20,000 for capital projects – for new or improved buildings, outdoor space like play areas, vehicles or even public artworks. Support with revenue costs such as events or activities, purchasing equipment and staff time is also eligible.

A total of £120,000 is available in the first round. An open call for applications is now live.

The funding comes from believe housing, one of the largest housing associations in the north east.  The Seaham-based organisation has invested heavily in community projects across the north east since it was launched, less than three years ago. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it provided more than £150,000 to over 30 community groups.

The £10,000-£20,000 range of the new Community Capital Grant fund makes the grant stream the largest ever offered by believe housing.

Damian Pearson, Community Investment Performance Team Leader at believe housing, said: “This funding is the result of our discussions with groups right across the county.  Many told us that they were looking for funding, but were struggling to find the right opportunities for medium-sized projects.

“Our smaller grants funds have been hugely successful and have supported a vast range of grass roots projects. We don’t want to move away from helping groups based firmly in County Durham, but we felt that the time was right to offer the opportunity for larger grants.”

Groups applying for grants need to work in one of the communities served by believe housing, which stretch from the Durham coast to the north Pennines.  Projects must also improve the health and wellbeing of communities, support employability and training, work to increase household income, provide a greener future by protecting the environment or tackle inequalities created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications to the Community Capital Grant fund can be made now.  The current call is open until Sunday, 5 December. believe housing has a dedicated community investment team, who are available to provide support and guidance on applications.  Full details are also available on the believe housing website.