Every day, hungry and homeless, 120 people pass through the doors of Newcastle’s People’s Kitchen.
Thirty years after being founded in the kitchen of a Heaton home, trustees say the service – which receives no council or Government funding – is more needed than ever.
But having created a community around their business, they say they need more volunteers “to feed the organisation so that it can feed the people.”
“People know of us, but its one of those things where people in some way seem to forget about us,” said trustee Colin Herron, who became involved with the charity after a talk at his daughter’s school.
“Yes at Christmas and harvest time we are very much in people’s consciousness, but the rest of the time we can slip out of it. Yet in February, or June, we are still badly needed.”
The People’s Kitchen was founded in 1985 following an Evening Chronicle story of a man whose body had been found in bushes on wasteland in Newcastle.
Deeply saddened on hearing that someone had passed away alone and unnoticed, grandmother Alison Kay, then 75, decided to do something to support the hungry, homeless and disadvantaged, and took it upon herself to make soup and sandwiches from her home in Heaton.
She also went to the city centre to sit with hungry and lonely men, some of whom also had alcohol-related problems.
In time she helped to break down their barriers of mistrust and more and more people came as word spread, and when two friends joined forces with Alison, the People’s Kitchen was born.
A whopping 1,300 people applied for just 16 jobs at a new Tesco store set to open in the North East.
The Tesco Express on Barrack Road, in Newcastle, is due to open its doors to the public on April 14.
The supermarket has revealed that it received the large number of applications – which equates to around 81 bids per post – when it started its recruitment process.
Store manager Iain Anderson, who has worked at Tesco for nearly 15 years, said:
“I was thrilled by the response we received to our recruitment drive. There were so many great applicants which made the decision very tough when it came to selecting the successful 16.
“The positions that have been filled cover a range of roles, from customer assistants to cash office, stock control and bakers – so some very skilled roles for people who are brand new to the company.
“Although our Express stores are small in size, the job roles and responsibilities are huge with massive learning potential.
“It’s great that the roles are so popular and we’re grateful for so many people applying. Tesco is a great company to work for and I believe that our city centre location, opposite the stadium and under student accommodation, is a factor in so many people applying.”
> I think it might have something to do with how desperate things really are, rather than Tesco being a great place to work.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate in the North East has dropped to 7.7%. The rate, for the period November to January, compares to 9.1% for the previous quarter.
The number of jobless people has fallen to 99,000, from 118,000, while the figure for those in work has gone up 11,000 to 1,188,000.
However the North East still has the highest unemployment rate in the country, compared to an 5.6% average in England.
The British Retail Consortium says the sector has always been popular with those looking for work.
Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation, added:
“Retail is a leading employer offering numerous benefits to those with a range of skills. Three million people work in the retail industry and it has always been popular with jobseekers.”
The new Tesco Express will be launched with the presentation of £500 to The People’s Kitchen, a charity which helps to provide food and clothing to homeless people.
Mr Anderson said:
“We are delighted to be able to support The People’s Kitchen, as they do such wonderful work for the local community.
> Perhaps Tesco will be supplying them – fo free – with all the out-of-date but still perfectly edible stuff they’ll otherwise bin.
Or perhaps not…
“We are really pleased that they will be coming to launch the new store and join in the celebrations with us.
“My new team and I are looking forward to offering shoppers a clean bright and spacious new store with fast and friendly service.”
The shop will open seven days a week, from 6am until 12am, and will offer a free cash machine, self-service tills, Click & Collect, mobile phone top-up facilities, a National Lottery counter, as well as Costa Coffee and Krispy Kreme facilities.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 08 Apr 2015
Two young boys moved by the sight of people sleeping rough have started a campaign to help the homeless.
Jack and Tom Hobbs were horrified to see people on the streets of Newcastle during a city visit from their home in Stanley, County Durham, at Christmas.
Despite their tender years, they have pledged to do what they can to help and have started to collect warm clothes, sleeping bags and blankets to donate to the needy.
Jack, nine, and Tom, five, started collecting things at St Mary’s Junior School, where they are both pupils.
Proud father Gavin Hobbs, of Iveston Terrace, Shield Row, said:
“We were out for dinner in Newcastle just after Christmas and my two boys saw homeless people on the streets for the first time and were both extremely upset and bothered about them.
“They decided they wanted to collect hats, coats, scarves, gloves, blankets and sleeping bags and start giving them to the homeless people to keep them warm.
“Jack and Tom are very passionate about this and have collected quite a bit already. We have got so much it is unbelievable.”
Car loads of gear will be taken to The Tommy Armstrong Centre in Stanley and The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle on Saturday.
It is being stored at St Joseph’s Church in Stanley. Anyone who wants to help can call Mr Hobbs on 07432-693-558 or take it straight to the church.
Source – Northern Echo, 04 Feb 2015
Its a strange thing but a “Dickensian” christmas is often held up as the personification of all things the season should strive to be… the soft, warm glow of candlelight, decorated xmas trees, hot punch, roasting chestnuts, happy families around the fire, merry carol singers gathered under the gaslight in the street, not the least phased by the several inches of snow covering everything – proper snow, snow that miraculously doesn’t turn to slush under the passage of so many feet and the wheels of carriages, or become polluted by the regular discharges from the horses that provided the motive power.
Sometimes people will organize “Dickensian Christmas” events and dress up in Victorian costume, probably read from his works… and generally miss his point.
Because the strata of society they dress up as is inevitably the upper or upper-middle classes of Victorian society. Then as now, the low paid and unemployed weren’t invited to the party – who do you think lit the candles and fires, cooked the feasts and generally did all the work ?
British society must not revert to “times of Charles Dickens” and leave the nation’s poorest families in desperate need of food and clothes, a charity has warned.
Action for Children said the nation “can’t go back” to the scenes of desperation described by the Dickens. The comments come as the charity said it has been regularly sending families to food and clothes banks for the first time since the 1940s.
Spokesman Jacob Tas said a “staggering” number of its centres were showing families where they could obtain emergency supplies, with some families are being forced to choose between eating, paying for heating or the rent.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of the charity’s 220 children’s centres said they aere “regularly” signposting families in need to food banks, according to its annual report, The Red Book.
And 21% of managers of the charity’s intensive family support services are signposting those in need to clothes banks, said the report released earlier this year.
Mr Tas said: ” It’s painful and unfortunate that we have now entered in a time when we go back in comparison to the 1940s. It’s really horrible for those families who are basically already at the bottom of the food chain that they have to go to go to food banks to get their food.
“Some families now have to make a choice between either paying the rent, paying for heating or paying for food. We are talking about children that are cold at home and are hungry and that is in 2013, which is really painful for everybody involved.
“In this very wealthy country, we are in the top 10 of the richest in the world, yet here we have a two-tier society where people are struggling to feed and clothe themselves.
“We can’t go back to the times of Charles Dickens where at Christmastime we are handing out food and clothes. We should be more advanced in our opinion of society where we take care of those who need help the most.”
He said that there are a number of contributing factors to the rise in people seeking help for basic necessities including the economy, unemployment, changes to the benefits system and cuts to services. “These families are facing the maximum squeeze from all sides,” he said.
In Tyne & Wear, the Trussell Trust, which runs several foodbanks, has already this year helped 19, 388 people – last year it was 7,020. In Newcastle’s West End 7,410 people received help – last year it was just 26.
Gateshead saw a rise from 390 last year to 1,720
The Bay Foodbank (North Tyneside) last December delivered 97 boxes of food (designed to last a family 4-5 days). In November this year they delivered 305 boxes.
The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle is expecting to help around 650 people over Christmas.
Austerity – we’re all in it together. Alledgedly. This time next year, a whole lot more of us will probably be in it, and we can all have Dickensian christmas’s.