11th Jun 2019

A £9,000 core grant from the Community Foundation has played a major part in helping an award-winning small charity respond to increasing levels of demand and complexity, by expanding the nature and professionalism of the support that they offer to some of the most disadvantaged people in the North East.

Walking With in North Tyneside supports asylum seekers, refugees and others in the North Tyneside area, primarily in Wallsend, who are in need, hardship and distress. In April 2018, they received £4,500 from the Squires Foundation Fund, £2,250 from the Pea Green Boat Fund, and £2,250 from the Daphne and Martin Cookson Fund, in support of their core running costs. They put the grant towards the salary of their project manager post, for the first time offering this on a full-time basis, with Joan Hoult joining the organisation soon after the award was made.

In the last 12 months, Joan has worked with the trustees, staff, and volunteers of the charity to boost the number of people using the service to more than 200. She has secured a range of additional grants and developed a new fundraising strategy, delivered an enhanced programme of activities involving asylum seekers and the local community, updated the organisation’s policies and procedures, and greatly increased the amount of partnership working that takes place with public sector and charitable organisations including the National Citizen Service and Tyne Met College.

The charity’s work was recently recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour for volunteer-led organisations in the UK.

Joan said:

“I was delighted when Walking With won the Queen’s Award; more than anything it’s testament to the passion, compassion, and commitment shown by our volunteers, and the bravery of the people who come through our door every day.

"Behind the scenes, the core funding from the Community Foundation has been crucial in giving us the capacity and space to think through how we operate, and who we work with, and doing the ‘boring stuff’ to ensure we remain fit for purpose, and able to help more people, into the future.”  

Jon Goodwin, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation, said:

“With limited resources, Walking With do amazing work to support asylum seekers, helping to make North Tyneside a welcoming place for people who end up there from all around the world.

"They are a superb example of people coming together on a voluntary basis in support of people living in extreme hardship in their midst. That said, the increasing complexity of the issues they are dealing with, in terms of the asylum system, Universal Credit, and Brexit, combined with an ever-increasing demand on their services, warranted a more professional and comprehensive approach – using our funds to appoint an experienced, full-time project manager made perfect sense.

"Supporting our most trusted grantees with core running costs is a key Community Foundation priority, and I was delighted to be able to knit together a large grant from three of our donor-advised funds to help a small local charity do what they do best – tackle the disadvantage that they see on their doorstep.”   

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