29 community projects across the North East have benefitted from a boost in funding to help combat the rising cost of living in their communities, thanks to a housing association’s community fund.

Projects of all shapes and sizes have been awarded grants of up to £3,000 from Karbon Homes’ £30,000 ‘winter wellbeing’ fund – an initiative designed to enable organisations that provide food, hygiene and basic household supplies to continue their work and reach more people through the winter months.

One organisation that received a grant from the fund is Nite Light CIC, whose Middlesbrough Matters helps support the most vulnerable within Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees by providing basic essentials of food and hygiene products.

Nadia Gibany from Nite Light CIC, said: “The direct impact our parcels have on people’s lives is evident when we’re distributing these items. It relieves stress and anxiety and is a weight off people’s shoulders who can’t afford these basic items which are needed to live.

“Most of the individuals we’ve supported with parcels are part of a family, so we know our support is going much further than the numbers we record. It’s been really challenging but we’re thankful for the support we receive from local organisations like Karbon Homes, which ensures we can keep going.”

The ‘winter wellbeing’ fund, an offshoot of Karbon’s main Community Investment Fund, was launched on December 22 specifically to help projects keep going through the winter months when demand for support is higher.

Paul Moralee, community investment manager at Karbon Homes, said: “Just before Christmas we really started to see the negative impact the cost-of-living rise was having on communities, with more and more people having to make stark decisions between heating their homes and buying food and household essentials, many of whom have never had to make decisions like this before.

“Access to basic essentials is intrinsically linked with positive wellbeing, and to help boost one we needed to do what we could to support the other and help as many local groups and charities as possible to continue providing this vital support.”

The fund was just one of several initiatives delivered by Karbon to help residents combat the growing cost of living.

The housing association has also partnered with The Bread and Butter Thing, helping fund a number of new hubs for the mobile food club across the North East that offer regular, affordable provisions of food and toiletries for people in low-income households.