THE wellbeing of local communities is being put at the heart of a newly-formed partnership.

The Church and Community Partnership (CCP) Tynedale, set up and funded by the Squires family, who established Benfield Motors, aims to bring together local churches and the voluntary sector to help improve the lives of local people.

The Squires Foundation, formerly the Benfield Motors Charitable Trust, asked key stakeholders from across the Tyne Valley, including representatives of community-based organisations and local government representatives, for an insight into the challenges they face when providing services to meet community needs - including but not limited to transport, employment opportunities, digital inclusion and provision for older people, young people and parents and families.

John Squires, of the foundation, was also keen to find out if churches could take a more active role, linking up local communities with existing services or creating new services if needed. This must be done in partnership and together with the many community organisations to exist within the valley.

To facilitate the partnership, CCP is looking to appoint a facilitator with the vision, skills and initiative to make this happen.

Sam Gilchrist, of the West Northumberland Food Bank, said, “Since the food bank started nine years ago, we have already worked hand in hand with some local churches to make sure people experiencing hardship are offered support.

"Our helpline receives around 100 calls a week from people who are experiencing the sorts of economic hardship highlighted in the Squires Foundation report.

‘We help people with the essentials in life such as food, money and energy bills, but we also try to make sure people do not feel left behind. It is a very lonely place when you are poor, and making sure everyone feels included is an important objective for this newly-formed partnership’.”

The Revd David Glover, Rector of Hexham, said the initiative was a "superb opportunity to get to know our communities better, to work collaboratively with others, and to become more effective channels of support and care to local people and local organisations”.

For more info, contact John Sadler at or on 07836 354 843