Hetton New Dawn Group was established in January 2008 to support disadvantaged people in our community. We would like to rent a property in the main shopping street of Hetton-le-Hole where we can have a centre, open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm; which will offer a range of support services. We will provide light refreshment in a relaxed environment, a job search area, a private room to deliver advocacy/mentoring/support services. It will include a distribution point for food bags on behalf of Loaves & Fishes Food Bank, a partner initiative, as well as distributing food grown in Hetton New Dawn’s allotment, a Credit Union pay-point, information centre and meeting place. At present there is nowhere in Hetton and the surrounding villages where people can access these essential services locally. The hub will make it possible for partner organisations to deliver a range of services in one place. Our project is needed because there is evidence that lack of work/productive activity and inadequate financial resources are factors which isolate people and need to be addressed to reduce loneliness and increase feelings of wellbeing (New Economics Foundation).
The project will focus on engaging those who are lonely or isolated due to one or more of the following: loss of partner, no family or none living locally, disability or limited mobility, lack of income which restricts ability to connect to others, mental health issues, one parent families, retirees, unemployed, people experiencing domestic abuse, drug or alcohol abuse.
Our current support is limited to the activities we run once a week, mainly based in Hetton & Eppleton Community Hall. The funding will allow us to offer a wider range of support in a dedicated space. Also, we will be able to increase the number and widen the range of beneficiaries. We will be able to offer additional support with job searches, help with CVs, applications for benefits, household debt management, Credit Union pay-in point (the local bank closed recently, leaving many with the problem of having to pay bus fares to access banking facilities.) We will also provide information about existing community groups and activities, and signpost or accompany people who are interested in attending, until they feel confident to go by themselves.
Hetton New Dawn has one part-time community development worker, working 12 paid hours, working with approximately 30 volunteers, both church members and people from the wider community in the provision of activities and support to reduce social isolation and loneliness. New Dawn has a Management Committee of 8 trustees, who give support to the project and help with some activities. These activities help maintain independent living, build self-esteem, promote the development of friendships and companionship and reduce social isolation. We try to ensure that vulnerable adults are given the support they require to live independently.