Seaham homeless charity thrown a lifeline

East Durham Community Initiatives Ltd staff are celebrating a grant which helps secure the future of the charity.
East Durham Community Initiatives Ltd staff are celebrating a grant which helps secure the future of the charity.
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STAFF who faced an uncertain future are celebrating getting job security after their charity landed a £19,950 windfall.

East Durham Community Initiative (EDCI) is one of 15 organisations in the North East to be sharing a £1million Government grant.

The cash, put forward following the withdrawal of other national funds and part of the Big Society campaign, will allow the charity to keep on five staff who were at risk of losing their posts.

Its role will include seeking long-term funding which will sustain the charity’s work.

Among the projects the Seaham-based group is working on is the expansion of its homeless service, which will double in size to take in 10 vulnerable men and women.

It will aid about 50 people a year and will help them seek training and learn skills, including cookery.

Planning permission has been approved for new accommodation, which will help it house and train men as well as women in future.

Finding finance for that work and its operation costs will in itself help generate income.

EDCI manager John Green said: “It’s a very good feeling to be able to explain to staff their work will go on, and the money is there for their wages and now we are moving forward to find other revenue.

“We will be doing more research to evaluate other projects.

“Once that’s done we can start to look what’s sustainable in Seaham.”

The 13-strong team, based at Jopling House in Vane Terrace, is also hoping to launch a community garden centre in the future.

Planning permission has already been granted for the site, next to Eastlea Community Centre, off Stockton Road.

The grants awarded by the Government are part of the second round of the Transition Fund, aimed at helping charities which work with the most vulnerable to public spending cuts.

They are also in line with the Government’s work to create opportunities through its Big Society agenda.

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Big Society will open billions of pounds worth of new opportunities for charities but some need immediate support.

“We’ve set up the Transition Fund quickly, so that the charities most vulnerable to public spending cuts won’t be left to sink or swim.”