Acts 435 Giving to anyone who has need

'Together Middlesbrough', a joint venture of the Middlesbrough churches and the Church Urban Fund, was launched on 2nd December 2012 by our patron, the Archbishop of York. Its mandate is to tackle poverty in Middlesbrough and I am going up there tomorrow to discuss how Acts 435 could be a part of that combined approach to helping those in need.

With 47% of the town ranked in the bottom 10% poorest places to live in the UK and up to 59% of the children living in these communities in poverty, there is great need and as such I believe Acts 435 could be put to much better use in Middlesbrough. We do have 3 participating churches there - Holy Trinity in North Ormesby, St. Barnabas in Linthorpe, and St. Martin de Tours - and they have helped about 30 individuals and families through Acts 435, but that doesn't sound like a great deal in a town with a population of 140,000!

I hope as I meet with Together Middlesbrough's Development Officer we can open the door to much more active use of the Acts 435 website to help people struggling in poverty in practical ways. I hope Middlesbrough Food Bank will also appoint an Acts 435 advocate as there is a natural link here - as people working at Food Banks meet those in need and get talking to them, they find other urgent needs they might have - clothing, rent arrears, a bed. This is where Acts 435 is so well placed to help, and take the pressure off the churches to find more funds to help in this way.

Our website is full of success stories where a real difference has been made with just £100. And donors really seem to be responding to the concept and the need - amazing in an environment where charity donations have fallen (by as much as 20% in real terms on some accounts).

The Church Urban Fund has a number of these Joint Ventures across the UK. Effective partnership in Middlesbrough could hopefully lead to further development elsewhere too as the other partnerships see the potential resource that Acts 435 can provide in tackling poverty.

Acts 435 donors can sign up to be notified of requests in a particular county on a weekly basis. This provides people who want to give to those in their own local community anonymously a great outlet to be able to do just that and help tackle poverty in this practical way.