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Community cafe back up and running thanks to housing association funding

Nov 11, 2020 | Leisure & Lifestyle

Funding from believe housing has helped to get a vital project in Easington Colliery underway again after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Café Together initiative was brought to an abrupt halt by Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year. Unable to carry on with its popular two-course meals in Easington Colliery Methodist Church, the volunteers behind the project feared for the wellbeing of their regulars.

But thanks to £500 from believe housing’s coronavirus recovery funding programme, the project has a whole new mode of operation. Now the volunteers provide a weekly hot and nutritious takeaway to people in Easington Colliery.

The grant allowed the volunteers to buy everything they needed to set up in takeaway format; including food, containers and personal protective equipment for everyone serving the meals.

Project leader, Julie Laidler, said: “We are so grateful for the support we have received from believe housing. It has enabled us to find new ways of supporting people in the local community during Covid-19, by providing a meal, friendship and signposting to other organisations like NE First Credit Union and East Durham Trust.  The network of volunteers, local communities, individuals and organisations is amazing.”

Frances Christie, Community Investment Apprentice at believe housing, said: “The volunteers are such a valuable part of the village and they clearly love what they do. When they approached us for support to allow them to get back to what they do best, we were very keen to help.

“The work they’ve done to adapt to the world we’re currently living in is a great example of exactly why we created our coronavirus recovery funding.”

The recovery grants follow the same model as the existing community funding programme. Applications for grants of up to £500 are open to community groups, organisations or schools that work in areas covered by believe housing. A simple application process ensures that fast turnaround funding decisions can take place and get work underway.

Recovery grants are intended to support projects that can be delivered within two months and follow current government guidance on coronavirus, such as social distancing advice.

Full details of recovery grants from believe housing’s Community Funding Programme are available on the believe housing website, or by calling the Community Investment Team on 0300 1311 999.