COMMUNITY and voluntary groups can now access an additional £1.4 million of funding to help provide much-needed support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Durham County Council is giving each of its 14 area action partnerships (AAPs) an extra £100,000 to allocate to groups that are working hard to provide support at a grass roots level across the county.

Councillors have also been given flexibility to use their neighbourhood budgets to support community groups and the voluntary sector by releasing revenue funding previously allocated for capital projects. If fully utilised, this will provide up to a further £1.76 million of financial support to County Durham communities.

The announcement follows the launch of County Durham Together last week. Led by the council, the virtual community hub brings together groups, charities and volunteers to support vulnerable people who are self-isolating.

Durham County Council leader Simon Henig said: “During these extremely difficult times, it is important that the council does all it can to help our local communities by bringing together the many groups that are providing much-needed day-to-day support.

“We have already launched our community hubs and we are now setting out a package of additional financial support to help fund costs being incurred by community and voluntary groups right across County Durham. This will ensure the money will be directed to where it is most needed.”

Deputy leader Cllr Alan Napier, the council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “This additional funding will help community groups to continue to provide vital services during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We know that financial pressures are a challenge for many groups providing help to local communities and that is why we are committing these significant funds, which will be managed locally across the county.

“This is a considerable investment and builds upon the additional support we announced through our local council tax reduction scheme this week, as well as the work that is ongoing to pay grants to local businesses as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Our AAPs are very much at the heart of the communities they serve, and, over the last ten years, they have provided practical and financial support for tens of thousands of projects benefiting people of all ages.

“At a time when the nation is facing an unprecedented challenge, this support is more important than ever. This additional funding will help AAPs to support our communities to meet the challenge and help one another through this difficult and uncertain time.”

AAPs will work with groups to identify gaps in provision in their areas. Groups can get contact details at For further details about the support on offer to communities and businesses in County Durham visit And to request help or to volunteer for County Durham Together, contact or call 03000-260260.