Big changes start locally

700 Club

700 Club John Elliston

The 700 Club is a community organisation based in Darlington working with homeless and vulnerable individuals in the town. It was set up 20 years ago by a Darlington Baptist Minister, John Elliston, as a response to the number of homeless people in the area.

Spurred on by the death of one rough sleeper, John launched an appeal to get 700 people to donate £50 each with the aim of purchasing a two bedroom property. The appeal drew more support than he had expected and the 700 Club set up a bond scheme called Bridge2Home, which is still running today.

There is a shortage of social housing in Darlington with many individuals and families looking to private sector housing to meet their needs. Those who are homeless are often unable to raise the deposit required to secure a property.

Bridge2Home assists homeless and vulnerable people to access housing in the private rental sector by guaranteeing the landlord’s bond - the deposit required by the majority of landlords prior to the start of a tenancy. For the people helped by this scheme, this up-front payment represents an insurmountable barrier to accessing suitable accommodation, so to have that money guaranteed by the scheme offers them a Bridge2Home.

The Foundation has awarded the 700 Club a grant of £36,763 to enable them to continue the Bridge2Home bond scheme.

John Elliston, CEO of the 700 Club, expressed his delight at the award:

“To have a home is a right not a privilege. The support provided by the Virgin Money Foundation enables Bridge2Home to continue helping individuals and families to realise that right.”

You can find out more about the 700 Club via their website.

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