ABOUT US

Darlington Support was set up to bring our community together to confront the COVID-19 virus and to deal with the new challenges faced as a result of the pandemic.

The response from the people of Darlington to this initiative has been phenomenal.  Shortly after we launched, we became one of the largest groups in the country to tackle the outbreak at a local level.  It goes to show how kind-hearted and generous the people of Darlington are.

At the beginning, we assisted vulnerable and elderly residents with tasks such as shopping, prescriptions and dog-walking.  We established a call centre, a system to manage the tasks, a payment mechanism and a companion call team.  Because of our long-term approach, we were there for our community, not only during the first national lockdown, but also throughout the whole pandemic.

It was critical that we acted quickly from the start because during the first lockdown of 2020, many supermarkets and pharmacies had no reliable infrastructure and operations to cope with the significant increase in the demand for their delivery services for food and medication.

We entered into a partnership with Darlington Borough Council to help more people in our town who required our assistance.  We also completed referrals and requests for support from many organisations, including local GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and other charities.

During this exciting journey, our ambition for both our community and our volunteers has grown.  This is why our grassroots organisation became a registered charity.

We expanded the services that we offer to include arranging transport to enable residents to receive their Covid vaccines and to attend their medical appointments.

We have been supporting and collaborating with other groups and good causes, such as King's Church Foodbank, the Library and Age UK (further details could be found below).

Whether it is hot or cold and whether it is rain, sun or snow, hundreds of volunteers across dozens of teams around Darlington have served local residents on thousands of occasions.

Our team members include Councillors from across the political divide: Conservatives, Green Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats.  They put their differences aside to work together for the sake of our town.

Due to the large membership of our Facebook group, we have been able to reach many people, including vulnerable residents who require vital information during a difficult period of time when a lot of incorrect claims were widely spread online.  In addition, we were able to champion and celebrate the community spirit of Darlington, which meant that more individuals stepped up to volunteer, not only with Darlington Support, but also with other organisations.

We are proud that we have achieved this without receiving any funding from the taxpayer and without charging the Council, the residents or local stakeholders for the services that we have provided.  To build an efficient infrastructure, we made an extensive use of technology and social media.  We also relied on our volunteers to lead their teams and coordinate the work of their groups.

The heartening and touching messages that we have received from grateful individuals ensured that we all remained motivated and energetic no matter how tough and stressful the situation was:

Once again…thank you SO Much for your incredible help and support. We will always remember this time and how you may have saved our lives.

It is an incredible honour for all of us that our charity won amazing national recognition by Healthwatch England.  In addition to this, the charity was the only finalist (out of over 30 others) in the Northern Echo Health and Care Awards 2021 who is not remunerated or paid for its services, whether in salary, external funding or charges.

Finally, we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been assisting our community during this difficult period and to you all for making this project such a success.

Kimberley Scott (Founder & Chair)
George Jabbour (Founder & CEO)


Kimberley Scott

Kimberley started the Facebook Group, Coronavirus Support for Vulnerable Darlington, which has grown to reach over 6,000 members.  She also founded Darlington Support.  Kimberley is the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

George Jabbour

At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, George founded, set up and raised the funds for Darlington Support.  As its CEO, he has been managing the charity since its inception.  George is also a Trustee.


ORGANISATIONS THAT WE HAVE WORKED WITH

Here are some of the charities and organisations with whom we have collaborated or for whom Darlington Support's volunteers completed referrals and requests for help:

© Darlington Support CIO (Charity Number: 1190934) | Terms | Team