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 “Feed Bellies Not Bins “ | Durham Freemasons

Shildon Alive is a St John’s Church Community Project run by the community, for the community. As well as being home to an advocacy service, the hub is used as a social area, open to the whole community. Activities include a Foodbank and Food for all Programme, Credit Union, Advocacy Support, Job Search, Youth Group, Community Gardens, Intergenerational Learning, and a Dementia Café.

Manager Paula Nelson applied to the Freemasons of Durham for a Community Support Grant to provide financial support for general purposes.

Paula was invited to attend the meeting of the Durham Freemasons Benevolent Committee at Shildon Masonic Hall, on Saturday 10th December 2022 where she gave a detailed insight into the inspirational work and activities carried out by Shildon Alive.

‘Shildon Alive fights food insecurity.’

In the Northeast alone 800,000 tonnes of food waste are generated every year, that’s over one-third of food produced for us to eat. At Shildon Alive their shop and takeaway are open to the whole community. The shelves are stocked with surplus food donated by local supermarkets; food originally destined for landfill. The shop operates on a ‘Take what you need, Donate what you can,’ policy meaning members of the community can come in, fill their basket with a wide range of products, and donate whatever they are able in return.

This enables the community to affordably add healthy food to their diets whilst simultaneously funding the work the charity carries out to benefit of residents of Shildon and the surrounding area. In 2022 they have so far helped 958 people.

During the meeting, local Freemason Stan Hunter had the pleasurable task of presenting Paula with a certificate to go along with the £1,000 Grant Shildon Alive had been awarded by the Freemasons of Durham.

Paula was thanked by chairman John D Watts for a most enlightening talk about the workings of Shildon Alive and all in attendance showed their appreciation.

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