innovative willington project gains funding

Willington residents have the chance to improve their health, build confidence and learn new skills, thanks to funding from one of the north east’s largest providers of affordable housing.

The ‘Our Confident Community’ project, based at Willington Open Door Methodist Church, has been awarded £4,650 by County Durham Housing Group to boost opportunities in the town.

The project, which will work alongside Willington Food Bank, will help local people with issues ranging from health and self-confidence to computer skills, budgeting and improving work prospects. Local organisations including Road (Reaching Out Across Durham), Wellbeing For Life and Go Ahead Training are also supporting the project. The project has accessible computers to enable people to access job searches, benefit support and information.

Volunteers behind the project are establishing links with six local businesses, which will help to provide mentoring, identify skills and training needs and work experience opportunities.  Students from Parkside Academy have also got involved by developing the name, logo and marketing materials for the project.

County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Officer, Debbie Howe, said: “This project has been designed to offer high quality practical support and guidance for local people in a welcoming environment. I’m confident that the extensive support and opportunities on offer will help dozens of Willington families become healthier and happier.”

Willington Open Door Methodist Church has rapidly become a focal point for the community since its 2016 opening, which included a well-equipped kitchen, conference facilities and high-speed internet access.

The Our Confident Community project is the latest in a series of grass-roots schemes to benefit from funding by County Durham Housing Group. The group provides 18,500 affordable homes stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast and has identified Willington as a priority area for investment during 2017/18. Other priority areas include Horden Crossroads, Deneside in Seaham, West Auckland, Gilesgate and Woodhouse Close in Bishop Auckland.

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