Vicariate for Caritas

Caritas Hexham and Newcastle Fund

"The Church is a home with open doors, because she is a mother.” And in imitation of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, “We want to be a Church that serves, that leaves home and goes forth from its places of worship, goes forth from its sacristies, in order to accompany life, to sustain hope, to be the sign of unity… to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation.”

Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti 276

What Is The Fund?

A new fund has been launched within the Diocese to help us fulfil the Diocesan values and the call of Pope Francis to support organisations within the Diocese who reach out in Christian love to those in need.

This fund aims to provide long term help to existing organisations but also to encourage people within parishes, schools and partnerships to start new local projects to help those on the margins.

Caritas Hexham and Newcastle has already helped fund 8 organisations with small grants. You can read some of their stories below.

That those who have too
little will have enough.
That those who have more
than enough will be
moved to share.

A Prayer from the World Council of Churches

Caritas Hexham and Newcastle Fund Beneficiaries

The Caritas Hexham and Newcastle Fund panel are pleased to announce that the first grants have been made to seven organisations working for social justice and environmental action. The Caritas Hexham and Newcastle Fund was established by the Diocesan Trustees as a way of supporting organisations located within the diocese who are taking the mission of the church to those on the margins of society and to help tackle the environmental crisis. The fund has been inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ which clearly links concern for the poor and the planet. The aim is to support existing projects within the Diocese, but also to encourage new projects to expand this vital part of the church’s mission. A small part of the fund will also be available to support overseas projects which have a link to the Diocese.

Thanks to our benefactors (see link opposite) grants were made to each organisation which applied.

Gift for Life aims to support the most vulnerable and desperate in society, those with no choice, those in crisis situations, those whose basic needs are not being met and those who require life-saving support, whether in our local community or on the other side of the world.

Gift for Life was established within the then Parish of St Mary’s in Whickham to raise funds for a project to bring clean water nearer to the homes of the community of Mbogoni in Kenya’s Rift Valley. The initial link had been made through school exchange visits with Catholic Nuns from the Order of the Little Sisters of St Francis who were able to oversee the project to its successful completion. Today, over 20 years on, the generosity of the now wider parish of Our Lady and St Philip Neri has allowed us to expand our Gift for Life activity which now supports international humanitarian work among the most vulnerable in Kenya and India as well as local support for refugees and those seeking asylum.

As a parish it is one way in which we have been able to respond to the call of Pope Francis: “I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity. They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father.”

The Mercy Hub works so that disadvantaged families in Newcastle can integrate, flourish and be happy. We do this by:

  • creating opportunities for families to come together for enjoyment and learning
  • building a peer support community across racial and ethnic boundaries
  • supporting families to access specialist services
  • working in the more deprived wards of Newcastle.

Our families come from some of the most deprived areas in Newcastle. 83% of them are in the bottom 30% of deprivation (using the IMD, the index of multiple deprivation). Many are single parents. 85% are from a BAME background which can mean they struggle to make local connections.

Northumbrian Industrial Mission (NIM), is an ecumenical charity founded in 1971 by the church leaders, to bring together under common management the mission of sponsoring churches and other sponsoring bodies, to industry, commerce and the workplace. There is a significant Catholic presence within NIM’s structure alongside our ecumenical partners.

NIM provides workplace chaplains, mainly voluntary, to workplaces in the region.  Many of them are lay people who give generously of their time to be there for others. They support people of all walks of life who are struggling with the demands of the workplace or personal issues such as bereavement, caring roles, or financial pressures. NIM offers an independent and confidential anchor in times of crisis, additional to other modes of support for staff.

Churches Together South Tyneside is a registered charity established in 1997 working in South Tyneside. We were set up to enable churches across South Tyneside to work together and in partnership with other organisations to reach out and meet the needs of some of our most disadvantaged residents.   In 2020 – 21 we supported approx. 20,000 local people of all ages. We employ 6 part time staff. We couldn’t do our work without the 250+ volunteers who have faithfully worked throughout Covid Members include representatives from eight ‘neighbourhood’ church groups (approx. 60 churches) in Hebburn, Jarrow, The Boldons, Whitburn, Cleadon and South Shields and individuals from churches and the wider community who support its work. Our current activities:

  • HAPPY AT HOME – a befriending service supporting 200 isolated old people with home visits, social events
  • POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROJECT – foodbank, fuel voucher scheme, school uniform recycling project, ‘Food and Fun’ holiday programme for children,
  • STREET ANGELS – keeping vulnerable revellers (particularly women) safe at weekends on the Metro and whilst out in South Shields.
  • NURTURING DEMENTIA– supporting people with dementia and their carers by teaching communication skills and raising awareness of how to support them in the churches and community

Two projects set up by CTST are now independent charities but continue to be affiliated: KEY (preventing young people becoming homeless); STARCH (supporting asylum seekers and refugees.)

The aim of our group is to support Catholics in the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese who identify as LGBT+ or who are questioning their sexual or gender identity. We provide a forum in which LGBT+ Catholics, those questioning their sexual or gender identity, and their friends, family and other allies, can encourage one another both in faith and in acceptance of each person’s unique identity. We organise a varied programme of meetings with a range of activities, providing spiritual nourishment and opportunities for social connection.

We also offer confidential support, information and signposting to Catholic family members of individuals identifying as LGBT+ or questioning their sexual or gender identity.

We are committed to working towards meeting the needs of all our neighbours by protecting our habitats and providing our generations to come with opportunities to develop better schools, better communities, and better futures in Christ.

As a Catholic community we believe that every person is created in the image of God and their life is worthy of intrinsic dignity. The effects of the environmental crisis we are all dealing with globally plays a huge role in the overall health of human beings as well as living conditions. Ignoring this would be disregarding the dignity of a human person. Therefore, it is our collective moral obligation to enhance human health and well-being by preventing the impact of climate change and improving the lives of all our neighbours within our local and global community.

The book of Genesis beautifully depicts our responsibility as stewards of the Earth. Our attitudes towards the environment and how we put them into practice have a direct impact on God’s creation, including the world’s most vulnerable species and their habitats. As an academy, we must protect God’s precious creation by promoting an eco-friendly mindset to provide better futures for our generations to come, so that they too can enjoy God’s gift and thrive to fulfil their God-given purpose. Education is key in enabling this to happen. To have better schools, better communities and better futures in Christ we must allow nature to thrive as well.

As a Catholic academy, it is our duty to develop and embed a sustainable whole school approach to meet our three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • Good Health and Well-being
  • Climate Change
  • Zero Hunger.

By doing so, we can actively and truly practise the belief that ‘God has created each person to celebrate life to the full’ (John 10: 10).

Hexham Together for Ukraine is an initiative started in March 2022 by Dr Hanna Ruszczyk, Ariana (town counsellor) and Penny. They wanted to bring people together who are interested in helping refugees coming from the Ukraine. The objective is to set up a sustained and sustainable network of support for the guests and the hosts that will ensure that Hexham/Tynedale community can offer good and well-informed support on short, medium and long term. The hope is that eventually the support can be extended to asylum seekers and refugees who come from other parts of the world.

How Our Past Grants Have Been Used

How You Can Help


The Diocese and a number of parishes have already helped with financial donations and we will encourage more to do so to make this a truly diocesan fund. Perhaps you would like to make an individual donation, organise a parish or partnership fundraising event or even have a word to see if your parish would be willing to make a donation from its funds. Donations can be made by clicking the Donate button opposite and simply follow the links to Caritas.

If you would like to donate by cheque please make it payable to Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and send it to Caritas Hexham and Newcastle Fund, Finance Office, St Vincent’s Diocesan Offices, St Cuthbert’s House, West Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 7PY. Please do include a note stating that this is a donation for the Caritas Fund. Thank you.

Join the Decision Panel

We are looking for people who will help us to make decisions when we receive requests. The panel will sit twice a year to look at the requests and deem which we can support at that time. If you feel you have the time, skills and passion to help us with this please email Fr Adrian Tuckwell.

What We Can Fund

The following are examples of what we can fund:

  • Established Diocesan, parish, partnership and parishioner involved projects including core costs.
  • New Diocesan, parish and partnership projects.
  • New environmental projects.
  • New school based and youth projects.

How To Submit A Bid

If you would like to submit a bid for funding please click the button opposite to open a Grant Application Form or to read our Terms of Reference. These documents will give you more details. If you have any further questions please email us. Grants will be available April and September.

For funding beginning September 2022 applications must be received before 31 July. Please download, complete and return the application form found opposite.