A CHRISTMAS appeal, launched in partnership between two North-East institutions, has started to deliver happiness to vulnerable people in the region.

County Durham Community Foundation and Durham Cathedral joined forces to launch the “Comfort and Joy” appeal earlier this month.

The problem of social isolation has grown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the appeal aims to share the warmth and friendship of the Christmas season with individuals and families whose lives have been affected.

For as little as £7 or £10, a specially-designed Christmas card, featuring the Cathedral and signed by the Dean, can be sent to a stranger or a loved one who may be feeling more isolated than usual.

Proceeds of the appeal are being shared between the two partner organisations, enabling them to continue supporting people across the region during the latest restrictions and beyond. So far, more than £1,000 has been raised, and the first wave of cards have been delivered.

The deliveries are being made, on behalf of the appeal, by six local charities already making a difference in their communities: PACT House, Women Today NE, Faith in Our Communities, Lifeline Community Action, Handcrafted Projects, and Just for Women.

The charities dedicate their time to caring for at-risk and isolated people in the North East, including low-income families, the homeless, and those with mental health conditions.

Michelle Cooper, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said: “This year has been hard on people; especially those close to the breadline, so we want to bring a moment of happiness to someone who might benefit from a reminder that people really do care.

“Funds raised for the Foundation will go towards our Covid-19 Recovery Fund – helping communities to rebuild in the months ahead. It’s wonderful to be doing all of this in conjunction with Durham’s biggest heritage building – which symbolises hope for so many people.”

Gaye Kirby, Head of Development and Strategy at the Cathedral, added: “We have hugely admired the work of County Durham Community Foundation during the current pandemic and are delighted to be joining together with them for our ‘Comfort and Joy’ Christmas appeal.

“At a time when we are less able to be together in person, finding ways to stay connected and reach out to those who may be more isolated is so important.  Donating to the appeal will not only support both the Cathedral and the Foundation, it will also make a valuable connection with those most vulnerable in our region.”

For more information or to make a donation to the ‘Comfort and Joy’ appeal, visit https://localgiving.org/charity/durhamcathedral/project/Comfort-and-Joy/.