We are here to support, promote and develop voluntary and community action in Middlesbrough

Full of hope for 2022

It’s a new year and a fresh start. Like many people, I can’t help but become reflective at this time of year. It feels like some things just won’t go away – Covid-19 seems likely to be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future. There is always a lot of hot air in the media that seems at odds with our lived reality.

Behind that, though, there are big changes all around us locally, regionally, nationally and beyond the UK. Covid-19 brought lots of new people into the Voluntary and Community Sector and they have brought some new services and new ways of delivering change. Funders that have operated across our region are having to suspend grant-making because their income flows have been hit by turbulence in our economy. Our region seems to get lower levels of investment than others in the UK and changes to our international status have unsettled many relationships.

It all makes me feel a little anxious about the future – for both the sector and for me as somebody who has worked in the sector for 30 years this year.

Why I have hope

What gives me reassurance and hope is the generosity of individuals, organisations and companies here in the Tees Valley, and the willingness of people to work together to help others get through their time of need.

A really good example of this is the amount of goods that are donated to the Voluntary and Community Sector through the networks and relationships that have built up over the years. Donors have given through MVDA many items such as facemasks, cot blankets, wellie shoes, furniture and hand sanitiser. Everything has found a use, and of course that means it hasn’t gone into landfill…and has a value to the sector across the Tees Valley in 2021 of around £541,432 and has been distributed to over 155 different organisations.

So, I feel glad to be here looking forward to working with all you amazing people in 2022 – here’s to you and all the brilliant things you do!

Photo: Donations we've received at MVDA ready to distribute


John Atkinson


Community Action and Development Officer at MVDA.