Welcome to the Communities Together Durham website.
We are here to work together as we explore ways to respond to and challenge poverty in our communities.
It is over 14 years since the global financial crisis and in that time we have seen lower wages, insecure work, benefit cuts, poor housing; the list goes on. Then the pandemic and now another cost-of-living crisis.
What have we learnt during this time? I would argue that the local church, however small and vulnerable itself, can be an important place in our communities to respond to these issues, and we really have.
We have set up foodbanks and Places of Welcome, run debt advice centres and holiday clubs. We have seen our schools being poverty proofed and adopting Just Change, to ensure free school meal money is carried forward. We have been fighting to see more Living Wage employees in the diocese and had some big wins including Newcastle and Sunderland Universities. The COVID pandemic saw many parishes working in partnership with local authorities to support the most vulnerable.
This work is exhausting, and we may be trying to do it with fewer volunteers, so our aim is to work alongside you to help build realistic responses. We want to use this blog to tell stories of what’s happening in Durham Diocese, from the small to the more established.
We would also love you to write about something you are trying out too. We are seeing a lot of innovation, for example trying out a community supermarket approach for a few hours a week. By sharing how it is going and what are you learning along the way, we can encourage others to experiment and have a go.
You will see the website reflects the Marks of Mission, to respond to human need by loving service and to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation. While the majority of the churches’ social action can be seen as responding to loving service, we also believe for long term change we need to challenge some of the structures that result in that need.