The rise of the Lifeline Community Action Group (Helping Hands) has been nothing short of phenomenal.
And it is a success story that has not gone unnoticed. The group has received the highest award bestowed by Durham County Council, the Chairman’s Medal, presented by Cllr John Robinson.
Derek and Margaret Rose Southerland, nominated the group to the Great Aycliffe and Middridge AAP for a Chairman’s Medal.
The action group started in 2009 as a house group with around 30 people, which has now grown to over 4,000.
Margaret says it is impossible to express in words just how much the organisation has impacted on the lives of people in the Great Aycliffe and Middridge AAP area.
Many have said the practical help the group offers has helped turn around their lives, and provided a ‘lifeline’ of support to those in crisis.
Encouragement goes to those seeking help and support for themselves and families by teaching practical life-skills such as problem solving and budgeting. The group also organises local events, including a Christmas Day meal for the disadvantaged.
Alwyn White says “The evening was special in that some of our service users were able to be celebrated as each have gone on to volunteer for the Helping Hands project run by Lifeline Community Action. We had a delicious meal and then the awards were presented by the Deputy Chairman of the County Council as the lady Chairman was ill. It was an extremely humbling occasion too as so many people had been doing voluntary work over a very long period of time.
We were given time to share with other volunteers who were each from their local AAPs. It was an amazing evening as it gave true recognition to the work which is being done throughout the whole of Durham County.”‑