Organisations got together to kick-start a project that aims to help Hartlepool residents save £1 million in the next year.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation visited Hartlepool yesterday to launch its £1,000,000 Challenge.
It is being spearheaded by Hartlepool Action Lab which is made up of numerous town organisations and community partners who share their knowledge and expertise to find solutions to problems facing people based on feedback from communities.
The new challenge aims to find ways of helping Hartlepool residents find ways of saving money on their food and energy bills and access all the benefits they are entitled to.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which works to tackle poverty, visited Hartlepool College of Further Education for the project’s launch.
Mr Robb said: “I’m really excited and privileged to be here. I can’t wait to work with you all.”
He said there is a massive problem with poverty in the country and in communities like Hartlepool.
“Wherever we research we see wages stagnate, costs going up , inflation going up and jobs not paying the cost of living.
“It’s just wrong and it doesn’t need to happen. We believe passionately we can change that.
“We will only solve poverty by all of us taking action at different levels.”
Mr Robb pledged the knowledge and support of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation over the course of the next year during the ambitious challenge.
Richard Sorton, of Hartlepool Action Lab, said the million pound challenge aims to build on three existing projects to achieve success.
They are Poolie Time Exchange, which connects people to fellow community members in need of low-level support; Housing Heroes, offering care leavers the opportunity to refurbish and live in vacant properties; and Stronger Neighbourhoods.
Mr Sorton said: “Between them we think we can find a million pounds out there somewhere in this town that will drive people’s cost of living down.
“We believe there are assets in the town and organisations and resources that can make a difference.”
Mr Robb said if the challenge is a success in Hartlepool it will be rolled out in other towns up and down the country.