A charity which provides vital support to some of South Tyneside’s most vulnerable citizens is aiming to raise £500,000 to expand its services.
South Shields-based Hospitality and Hope, now based at the former Hampden Street Day Centre in South Shields, runs food banks and soup kitchens across the town.
Now it has moved into the former Duncans pet shop at Chichester after the North East’s Willan Trust bought the building and rented it to the charity at a peppercorn rent.
The aim is to create a community cafe on the bottom floor of the building which would be open to the public.
And the upstairs is to be converted to provide supported living for five adult males.
It’s a hugely ambitious project with the revamp work needed and first year running costs expected to cost £500,000.
Fortunately, Hospitality and Hope volunteers had already started fundraising before the charitable trust purchased the building on its behalf, and is “well on its way” to its target.
But Amelia Luffram, project co-ordinator with the charity, has still called on the borough’s business community to rally in support.
“It is really two separate projects. The supported living upstairs will definitely be open before the end of the year but there is an awful lot of work to do in the cafe as the pet shop has been closed for several years.
“We will be continuing our fundraising and are planning one big fundraising event in the future. Meanwhile, it would be great if building companies were able to donate stuff in kind that we could use to carry out the refit, and when the community café is open we could give those companies recognition, perhaps in the form of plaque.
“We’d also love to hear from any businesses that can provide beds, fridges and freezers for the supported living accommodation.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, a staunch supporter of Hospitality and Hope, was on hand when John Duncan handed over the keys to the former pet shop recently.
Also in attendance was the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, who said:
“In these difficult economic times, Hospitality and Hope provide a much-needed service for South Tyneside communities.
“It is sad to see so many people living in crisis, but it is heartening to see the level of support offered by volunteers and partner organisations who are committed to helping others.”
Thanks have been passed on to the charity’s patron, Sir David Chapman, for his support.
If you can help the charity, e-mail email@example.com
Source – Shields Gazette, 18 Feb 2015
A charity which provides vital support to some of South Tyneside’s most vulnerable citizens is on the move – and expanding its services.
South Shields-based Hospitality and Hope runs food banks and soup kitchens across the town.
It is currently based at Brinkburn Community Centre and the town’s Living Waters Church at Rekendyke.
But next week it will be moving into the former Hampden Street Day Centre in South Shields, which closed in 2013 as part of a reorganisation of the council’s day centre facilities.
The charity, which is run entirely by volunteers, has been given the premises by the local authority on a peppercorn rent.
It’s a big boost which will enable volunteers to expand the range of help they provide to people in crisis.
The move comes after a year in which demand for borough food banks has risen by 50 per cent.
It’s a need which Deb Stobbs, a volunteer fundraiser with Hope and Hospitality, can only see increasing as the impact of tough benefit changes continue to be felt.
She said: “The reality is that we have outgrown Brinkburn Community Centre.
“At the moment we package the food at Brinkburn and deliver it to different venues, in particular Living Waters.
“Now we are moving out of Brinkburn and Living Waters and consolidating in one building.
“Currently we are only open two days a week, Tuesday and Thursday, and this move means we can open more days.
“South Tyneside food banks saw a 50 per cent increase in the use of services last year and this is a crisis situation which is only going to get worse and affect more and more people.”
Food banks are not available for people who just turn up at the door.
Instead, those deemed to be living in crisis are issued with vouchers by organisations such as the JobCentre and referred to the charity.
It was all hands to the pumps this week as supporters from the Prince’s Trust and Asda went along to Hampden Street with paintbrushes and cleaning equipment to get the complex ready to open.
The charity has passed on thanks to some of the other organisations and individuals which have been supportive, including Youth Justice, North East Council for Addictions and Sir David and Lady Chapman, its patrons.
Coun Ed Malcolm, the council’s lead member for resources and innovation, said: “The council is delighted to be to able to support Hospitality and Hope by providing a building that has been vacant for some time.”
New volunteers are also invited to help out at soup kitchens in St Bede’s, in Westoe Road, South Shields, on Sunday night, St Michael’s and All Angels at Westoe on Wednesday lunchtime and at Harton Methodist Church on Thursday lunchtime.
Source – Shields Gazette, 12 Feb 2015
Last night the Mayor of South Tyneside carried out an official engagement which transported him back 30 years.
It was not a pleasant trip.
Coun Ernest Gibson attended the preview of an exhibition at South Shields Museum to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike.
As a 19-year-old miner at Westoe Colliery in South Shields, Ernest Gibson watched and experienced the bitter dispute at first hand.
South Shields born and bred, Ernest went straight from school at 16 into mining.
Nine months later, after training, he was working underground at Westoe.
His grandfather and father had worked down the pit and Ernest grew up in a mining community in the Whiteleas area of South Shields.
He has boyhood memories of walking home from church on a Sunday with his grandfather and the friendly greetings and banter they received from mining neighbours on the way home.
“Everyone was friendly. It was the sort of community where, if you were out and it started to rain, somebody would bring your washing in and iron it for you,” says Ernest.
“There were collections for injured miners. People in that community helped each other.”
Then came the strike.
Ernest was lucky in that, as a teenager, he was still living at home, although he had to give up his Cortina car, which was his pride and joy.
“Every miner can tell a different story about the strike,” he says.
“It was a devastating time for miners with families. At Christmas they had nothing to give the children. Marriages were on the line because of money problems.
“The hardship was terrible. Kids went without.”
He believes the miners had no other option but to come out in an effort to save their jobs and communities.
“We were fighting for our communities, for the 2,500 underground jobs at Westoe, and the millions of tonnes of coal which would have lasted well into the future and provided the country with its own energy.
“Arthur Scargill may have made mistakes, but he had to stand up for the rights of the people he represented because Mrs Thatcher was out to break the miners.
“It was a case of break the most powerful union and the rest are easy to get. The miners were on her radar, her personal agenda.
“There was no option but to strike, and the miners at Westoe were totally united.”
They did not want to see the big reserves of coal at their pit sterilised by closure. Although the mayor appreciates that times have moved on and cargoes arriving in the Tyne are good for the port, the sight of coal being imported from abroad into a river which once made its name exporting vast tonnages of the commodity is still difficult to come to terms with.
His strike memories include the food banks, which are nothing new, and the street collections.
“The wider community was generous, and women were the backbone of the strike. They were fantastic, organising collections and soup kitchens,” he says.
What particularly rankles is Mrs Thatcher’s remark about “the enemy within.”
Ernest says: “It was an insult. The miners were working people fighting for the right to work and for their industry.
“Mining communities were family-orientated and had good ethics. They were generous people but they were treated worse than criminals.
“We were fighting to save something important and when the strike ended we marched back with heads held high.”
Ernest was elected as a councillor for Whiteleas in 1999, and is a member of the Harton and Westoe Miners Heritage Group.
The group will be taking part in a march, with mining banners, from the museum on Saturday at around 11am with the Westoe Colliery brass band.
The exhibition, which opens today, will run over the weekend.
Source – Newcastle Journal, 07 March 2014