Great Aycliffe Community Aid Partnership (GACAP) held their July meeting preceded by a Special General Meeting to adopt their first constitution. From inception to date, the partnership has operated under a MOU.  The meeting had a full agenda which was swiftly dealt with allowing time for two speakers. Secretary Joan Mitchie reported the success of the Tombola at the Thames Centre where £140 was raised for Harvest Church Kids Zone. Baby Basics also has a booking in a few weeks. Joan reminded all partners of the benefit of using the Thames Centre to raise the profile of their group. The constitution allowed up to four nominees to be elected from the partnership to form a management committee.

Four elected were Val Fawcett, AARMS, Kath Pinner Food Bank and Places of Welcome, Chris Palmer, Independent partner and Peter Driver Harvest Church. Joan outlined the ongoing progress of GACAP via the Officers Report. Steven Mitton is to head up a sub group with Joan Mitchie to pursue the website. Liane Taylor, GACAP Treasurer, will continue looking after  Facebook and Twitter pages but needed partners to let her know what they were doing to allow her to promote their events. The idea of a scrap book with all press releases involving GACAP were could be set up. The newly formed Management Committee would be encouraged to assist in one element of promoting and running GACAP for the benefit of those in our community who were in need.

Kath Pinner asked if partners could offer support to the Food Bank by helping with Tesco/ Trussell Trust Food collection on 22nd July.  A dementia friends awareness session would be held at St Clare’s Church between 9-11 am on 9th August. Christine McVay from Stonham gave an interesting oversight of what Stonham did for the benefit of  those in our  community with learning difficulties. Young people up to 18 years of age could register for support. An application form from the GP was one method of referral Adam White Project Officer for Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership. Including School Aycliffe and Aycliffe Village gave details of GAMP set up. There were 14 AAP’s in County Durham, the Board consisted of 21 members, 6 County and I Town Councillor.

7 members of the community and 7 professional members, police, fire, ambulance, housing etc. Each partnership received an amount of money to be used for community projects. The Forum held in November each year was pivotal. Secondary Schools were also involved in voting and they seem to vote for older people whilst the older people seem to vote for younger people. Three groups are elected from nine headings. The older and younger people being two, the third this year is Employment, Enterprise and Training. The AGM is in two weeks time and forum members were welcome to attend at Aycliffe Village Hall at 6pm, Tuesday 18th July. If you wish to attend and are a forum member contact Paula at GAMP Offices 01325 327441.