Charlotte and Francesca baking


Since closing our doors three weeks ago due to COVID-19, we have launched an initiative called, The Auckland Project: Closed Doors, Open Hearts, re-focussing our efforts on helping the Bishop Auckland and Shildon community through the crisis.

The initiative has three elements: food preparation, distribution of the food via third parties, and production.


A team of 17 staff and volunteers from The Auckland Project are preparing handmade food for distribution to those who need it.

The team are producing around 500 meals per day, five days a week, with more than 10,000 meals produced so far.  Most ingredients are coming from our suppliers, DeliFresh and BidFood.

The team are also putting together fresh food trays, made up of items such as flour, milk, vegetables and tinned meat, to help people cook at home.


We are working with South Durham Enterprise Agency,  Health Express and Durham County Council,  to distribute the food produced via a series of community hubs.

Distribution is being carried out via these third parties only and not directly from The Auckland Project, to ensure it reaches those who need it most.

Cardboard manufacturer, Durham Box, has donated 1,000 boxes to help package the meals for distribution and freezer manufacturer, Ebac  has donated several freezers to help store the meals safely.


We are busy planting crops in Auckland Castle's Walled Garden including leek, broccoli, kale, turnips, potatoes and chard that can be harvested as part of The Auckland Project: Closed Doors, Open Hearts moving forward.

Funding for the project has already been received from County Durham Community Foundation, with further support sought from Local Elected Members and the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership.

If you would like to support this work, you can donate online here.

Durham County Council has established a helpline, webpage and support network to help vulnerable people during the pandemic. For more information click here or call 03000 260260 from 9am-5pm on weekdays and 10am-3pm on weekends.

For more information about The Auckland Project: Closed Doors, Open Hearts initiative you can read the full press release here.

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