About Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland

About Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland

In February 2012 over 100 people from local churches and Christian organisations came together to share their concern about poverty in Middlesbrough. The Bridging the Gap conference was both inspiring and challenging, and in response we are delighted to have launched Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland, a joint venture with Church Urban Fund.

Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland is locally managed with representatives from a variety of church traditions. Support and resources are provided to churches and Christian projects seeking to address poverty in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland and surrounding areas, where deprivation is a pressing concern.

By working more closely together churches and community projects can tackle poverty more effectively, watch the film below to find out how this is happening.

Tackling Poverty Together

Church Urban Fund has a mission to reach out to transform the lives of society’s poorest and most marginalised people. Many church leaders, community workers and volunteers are already transforming lives, but can feel overwhelmed by the challenges they face. Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of York are now working together as Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland to:

Enable local churches, Christian organisations and community projects to tackle poverty more effectively by working more closely with each other
Make the response of churches of all traditions within the Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland area sustainable by being better resourced and supported
Build a network of churches and Christian projects, and give a voice on the local and national stage to their work and concerns about poverty

"Poverty is not a lifestyle choice..."

Poverty can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

The scale and spread of deprivation in Middlesbrough is amongst the worst in the country; 47% of the town is ranked in the bottom 10% poorest places to live. In these communities up to 59% of children are living in poverty, up to 53% of families are headed by lone parents and in some areas male life expectancy is as low as 68 years.

Similar areas of deprivation exist close to Middlesbrough, only a few miles away from some of the most affluent communities in the country, where child poverty is as low as 3% and life expectancy is up to 13 years higher.

Those trapped in the ‘web of poverty’ are there for many reasons:

  • Local jobs may be in short supply, often short-term and low paid, creating a cycle of low-wage, no-wage
  • Low educational achievement and poor aspirations
  • A downward spiral of debt, with escape feeling impossible
  • Physical and mental health problems
  • A history of family breakdown, domestic violence and abuse

Christ calls us to respond to the needs of our neighbours, to feed the hungry, to clothe the poor, to befriend the lonely, to visit the prisoner, to care for the sick: in serving others we are serving him.