Great Aycliffe Residents Association are conducting a feasibility study with a view to providing a permanent, ongoing food and household goods supply point for people in need  in Newton Aycliffe

After speaking to various groups it is generally agreed that the current arrangements are fragmented and don’t fully meet the needs of families in poverty in our town.

Curently a food bank works under an umbrella organisation based in Durham with various organisations contributing to a central point in Chester le Street which is then divided and sent to different parts of the county to be distributed. Newton Aycliffe has a distribution centre at St. Clares Church manned by volunteers.

Every six months or so a major national collection involving Supermarkets augments local appeals, but Aycliffe has no co-ordinated scheme to help alleviate poverty stricken families in its own community.

GARA envisage bringing together all parties in Great Aycliffe, including individuals, church groups, businessess, shops, factories, Councillors, Social Services, Welfare Officers in an ongoing community effort to satisfy the demand in our own town, which we know is increasing.

We believe each town should look after its own, recognising and fulfilling the need, and in the process, building community spirit, to provide for our less fortunate neighbours.

We would like to see collection points in places on the town and Business Park for clothes, household goods and food with a distribution point open more often than at present.

It would be necessary to unite everyone under a new, properly constituted organisation, registered with the Charity Commssioners.

The organisation will consist of volunteers who will elect officers  and a working committee to fulfil the aims and objectives, with proper accountability.

This will allow individuals and organisations to safely donate cash so that products can be purchased when necessary.

The committee and its members would work to provide collection points in the area and promote their activites to a wider audience to gain the maximum impact.

They will also organise the venue and frequency of distribution to people in need, and develop a system to determine the level of support for each applicant.

Initailly it is necessary to call a meeting of those groups in the town already operating an aid programme. In addition volunteers who are willing to give their time to help others will also be invited.

Any reader interested in this proposal should please get in touch with Syd Howarth on 300212, 320901 (home) or