6:00am Monday 8th April 2013
By Andy Walker
A GRANT-GIVING organisation that has helped thousands of good causes in the region has celebrated reaching the milestone of handing out £22m in donations.
Since it began in 1995, County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF) has helped make the wishes of charities and community organisations come true, making almost 10,000 grants.
The Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome (ECCDS), in Newton Aycliffe, was the recipient of the grant that took CDCF’s grant-making past the £22m mark.
It has been awarded £5,000 for its Moving On project, aimed at supporting the education and development of youngsters with the condition while helping their parents pick up essential skills.
ECCDS, which welcomes 60 children from around the region, runs regular weekday classes and other educational activities tailored for children with Down syndrome, helping to develop their speech, language, numeracy and motor skills.
CDCF chief executive Barbara Gubbins attended the charity’s recent annual celebration evening, at which the £22m milestone was marked.
Education centre founder Maggie Hart, its head of education and training, said: “The grant will dramatically help us, as the charity is growing all of the time.
“We will be able to increase the number of group leaders that we have and develop a life skills group for older children. The Community Foundation has been extremely helpful.”
Grants handed out by CDCF since 1995 include 2,965 to individuals and 6,428 to organisations, making a total of 9,393 awards.
CDCF manages more than 150 individual funds, with money distributed on behalf of philanthropic individuals and companies across County Durham.
A spokesman for CDCF said: “The grants have supported a wide range of applicants over the past 18 years and will continue to in the future.
“After recently employing four new members of staff, even in these austere times, the Community Foundation is still thriving.”
The foundation is managed by a board of 14 trustees - professionals drawn from all sectors of the business and voluntary communities.
Its president is Sir Paul Nicholson who recently stood down as the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, while vice-presidents include botanist Dr David Bellamy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and one-time editor of The Northern Echo, Sir Harold Evans.
The foundation says there is always a need for more donors in County Durham.
Anyone in a position to support local individuals and organisations can visit cdcf.org.uk or call 0191-378-6340.
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