Tagged: Dunston

More emergency food parcels handed out to people in Gateshead than ever before

Emergency food parcels are more in demand than ever before, according to the latest statistics.

Since opening nearly two years ago, a total of 52 tonnes of food has been handed out to folk in Gateshead in parcels.

More than 100 volunteers have worked around the clock to provide the front-line service to more than 5,000 people, 1,600 of who were children, since opening in 2012.

Statistics show an increase of 27% year-on-year, as 1904 people turned to the food bank this year as opposed to 1649 the previous year.

And secretary of Beacon Lough Baptist Church,  Ian Britton, which  is part of Gateshead Food bank, said the demand for emergency food is growing each week.

“The figures show a steady increase in demand and we are really grateful to the people of Gateshead for their donations and for the people in volunteering.

“We have been able to help 5,000 people in Gateshead who have been helped by the people of Gateshead. It’s very much a community thing. Churches and professionals are working to help people in their time of need.

“The majority of people only receive help from the food bank once and after that professional agencies are able to sort out their problems.”

Figures obtained by organisers show that more people living in Saltwell have used the food bank than anywhere else in the borough, when 408 adults and 153 children from the ward used the service over a two year period.

In Dunston and Teams a total of 541 people were handed food parcels in their time of need.

More than 1770 people used the food bank because of delays of their benefit, while 768 people said they used the service because of changes to their welfare.

Statistics also showed low income and debt were reasons for folk needing help.

Mr Britton added:

“The reality of what we are told by the professionals is that delays and changes to benefits is one of the main reasons for using the food bank.”

The food bank, run by volunteers from churches in Gateshead, works with care professionals, GPs and the Citizens Advice Bureau to distribute food to those families in need in the town. They provide three days of emergency food to people who find themselves in need.

For more information, call 0191 487 0898 or email info@gateshead.foodbank.org.uk

 Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 05 Nov 2014

Axe could fall again on Gateshead’s library service

Plans are being floated by Gateshead Council to close all but five of its facilities as it attempts to slash £46m from its budget over the next two years.

The dramatic proposal forms part of a public consultation which will run until November 15 on the future of Gateshead’s £3.2m service.

Previous budget cuts have already seen the council handing over five libraries to volunteer run organisations.

Among the seven options presented to the public in its latest consultation is a plan to keep open only Gateshead Central Library, Blaydon, Birtley, Leam Lane and Whickham libraries with support from the Readers at Home Service and Mobile Library.

This would save the council £400,000 a year and scrap the equivalent of 13 full time jobs.

Another idea is for the council to run the same five libraries with the option of adding a number of ‘prioritised’ local libraries to its network.

Local libraries they could chose to save include those at Chopwell, Crawcrook, Dunston, Felling, Pelaw, Rowlands Gill and Wrekenton, which each cost the council £60,353 a year to run.

This plan would also be supported by the Mobile Library service, however another option suggests scrapping this facility entirely, as well as the Readers at Home and the Audio Visual service saving the council £178,000 a year with the loss of up to seven full-time equivalent posts.

Gateshead Council’s Service Director, Culture Communities and Volunteering, Lindsay Murray, said:

The Council is undertaking a review of its library service to ensure that it is fit for the future and meets the changing needs of Gateshead residents and changes in technology.

“Gateshead Council has a funding gap of £46 million over the next two years – this review aims to help us design a service that can withstand future financial pressures.

“A series of options have been developed to help us best meet the needs of local communities and the changes in how residents are accessing the library service.

“We want to know what people think about the proposed options and we would like to encourage as many people as possible to give us their views.”

Option 3 presented by the council outlines the potential to expand its volunteer run library network, which currently includes those at Ryton, Winlaton, Sunderland Road, Low Fell and Lobley Hill libraries, which were established in July 2013.

To have your say on proposals visit Gateshead Central Library on Monday November 3 between 4pm – 6pm and Wednesday November 5 between 10am – 12 noon.

Sessions are also being held in all other council run libraries and the five volunteer run facilities up until November 10. For more details visit the ‘Consultations’ page on Gateshead Council’s website.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Gazette,  28 Oct 2014

Services at region’s “little used” railway stations under threat

Rail services at around 20 of the region’s “little-used” stations are under threat, under new Government plans.

Ministers are proposing cutting the number of trains that serve 67 stops with “particularly low levels of use”, when a new contract is brought in for a private operator.

They include ten in North Yorkshire, four on Teesside, three in Tyne and Wear and a further five in Northumberland.

Some have extraordinarily few passengers, in particular the station at Teesside Airport which – notoriously – had just eight passengers last year, on only two trains each week.

Five other local stations attract fewer than ten passengers a day on average; British Steel Redcar (2.44), Battersby, North Yorkshire (4.31), Kildale, North Yorkshire (4.99), Dunston, Gateshead (5.93), Blaydon (7.59) and Ruswarp, North Yorkshire (8.07).

And the list stretches down as far as stops with nearly 10,000 passengers a year, but still small numbers each day; Marton, Middlesbrough (27.02) and Danby, North Yorkshire (27.13).

The Department for Transport (DfT) has vowed that 30-year-old ‘Pacer’ trains – condemned as “cattle trucks” by critics – will finally be replaced, as part of the new contract.

 Now the consultation for the franchise seeks support for improving the quality of the trains “at the expense of some reduction in lightly used services”.

It asks: “What are your views on giving priority to improving the quality of the Northern rolling stock at the expense of some reduction in lightly used services (e.g. fewer calls at low-use stations)?

The proposal is included in plans for the new Northern Rail and Trans-Pennine franchises, which are due to be awarded late next year and to start in February 2016.

The operators run services to Darlington, Durham City, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar, Sunderland, Newton Aycliffe, Redcar, Northallerton, York and Scarborough.

Controversially, the DfT has already warned that rail fares may have to soar to pay for the new trains, regardless of whether some services are culled at less popular stations.

> So business as usual –  fewer services costing more… to be followed by big payouts to shareholders .

Commuters in the region pay up to 60 per cent less than in other parts of the country for short journeys, according to officials.

Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, pointed out that James Cook Hospital had just opened a new platform linked to Marton.

And he said: “They’re probably less used because services are few and limited. South Bank hardly has a service that stops there, so it’s a bit cheeky for Northern Rail to highlight stations it hardly services.

> It’s a good point – if there are very few services to start with, the number of users is going to be less. It’d be interesting to see what would happen if services were increased.

Teesside Airport station always  attracts headlines for its lack of use… but it only gets two trains per week.  What the hell else does anyone expect ?

“Perhaps if it increased services and improved rolling stock, it would improve the frequency of use.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin insisted that no decisions have yet been taken on the proposals in the document, arguing it was normal to seek views in a consultation.

Source –  Northern Echo,  26 July 2014