14 May 2015
Lifeline Community Action
Lifeline Community Action is a project nominated for an Inspire Award 2015. Serving the South Durham area, they support more than 3,000 people in need each year.
As well as a drop-in centre providing free emotional support, friendship and practical advice for vulnerable people, the Helping Hands project has been developed to help and support people in crisis living in the area.
Dedicated volunteers distribute supplies of household goods and offer non judgemental, urgent and effective practical assistance to anyone in need or experiencing hardship. Many who once benefitted from the Helping Hands project are now volunteering, testament to the difference it made in their life.
The relatively deprived area of Newton Aycliffe has a high unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent compared with 3.9 per cent in England as a whole and double the national average claim Job Seekers Allowance or Incapacity Benefit. Referrals of people with severe financial problems come in from social services, job centres and community agencies and Lifeline Community Action volunteers establish their particular needs.
Individuals who use the drop-in centre often have opportunities to help make decisions about how the centre is run. Programmes of social, leisure, vocational and health activities include workshops on practical living skills, improving physical health, entertainment, training and job skills.
Lifeline Community Action was launched in 2010 by a group of Christians from the local Life church and the volunteers share the love of Jesus.
Susan Sadler, founder, said: "Often we share a short testimony and we offer to pray with people and invite them to church. Many have asked Jesus into their lives and the team keep in touch to support them throughout the weeks. I love the opportunity He has given us to serve."