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About us

Our Beliefs

We believe that local churches are uniquely placed to respond to local issues. We build relationships with churches and their community to enable them to flourish together. We are a team of people passionate about the dignity and worth of each individual, because each one of us is made in the image of God. Poverty affects people in different ways and the causes and solutions are complex. We want to challenge social injustice by working with churches and neighbourhoods to help communities flourish.

Our team


Val Barron

Val is the lead development worker and supports Gateshead, Gateshead West, Sunderland and Chester-le-Street Deaneries. She has a particular passion for community organising and social enterprise as ways to make our communities fairer and more inclusive.


Tim Ferguson

Tim supports Easington, Hartlepool, Jarrow, Durham and Lanchester Deaneries. He is currently exploring the ways in which contemplative prayer, theology and social action combine to help churches live faithfully and lovingly and joyfully.


Maddy Fisher

Maddy supports churches in Auckland, Barnard Castle, Darlington, Stockton and Stanhope deaneries. She has experience of helping churches to become dementia friendly, and has a particular interest in how we respond to loneliness, isolation and mental health issues.

About us

Anne Robertson

Anne supports Gateshead West and Gateshead Deaneries. She has a wealth of experience in the catering industry and is passionate about challenging food insecurity. Anne’s focus is on helping churches and congregations offer support and hope to those experiencing food poverty.

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Joanne Thorns

Joanne is the Project Co-Ordinator  for Refugee and Asylum Seeker project.  The project seeks to support those in the system and the clergy and parishes who are supporting them.  The project will reach out to other agencies and partners in the region.   She has an interest in Community Organizing and how together we can challenge injustice.  She is passionate about the North East and seeing our local communities thrive.

Jessie Luvai

‘Jessie joins us as the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project Development Worker. Her role is to support clergy and parishes in the Durham Diocese as they discern the most appropriate ways in which to support the local refugee and asylum community.  This will involve helping to set up and promote local drop ins and build links with other local agencies, especially existing refugee and asylum organisations working in our region.’


Rev’d Canon Sheila Bamber (Chair)

Bishop Sarah Clark

Kate Welch OBE DL

Rev’d David Whiting