What's in a name?

700 people do it together

In December 1994, a "bricks and mortar" sub-group of Darlington Housing  Action Group made a public appeal for seven hundred people willing to donate £50.00 towards a new initiative for the homeless. It was calculated that this would raise enough money to purchase a small terraced house, then selling for around £35,000, which could be converted to house four or five homeless people.

To publicise the initiative, a mock doorway was placed on High Row in Darlington and anyone who walked through was asked to commit £50. Tony Blair (MP for Sedgefield), Alan Milburn (MP for Darlington) and the Leader of the Council, John Williams, walked through, along with members of the public and the project grew. In fact, more money was raised than the £35,000 target, and this gave the organisation, the 700 Club (named from the initial proposal of seven hundred donations), the opportunity to turn the dream into reality. A partnership between Home Group, Darlington Borough Council and the 700 Club enabled the organisation to acquire 2 large adjoining properties on Grange Road in Darlington. After much renovation, together they became Hope House, and in 1997 the 700 Club began to deliver services to the people of Darlington. It has been delivering services to the homeless and vulnerable of the town ever since. Over more than two decades its work has diversified, as this website makes clear, but it has always remained true to the belief that gave it birth, the belief that by collective action real change can occur in the lives the most vulnerable.