A CHARITY for the homeless in South Tyneside is being made homeless itself – but officers have pledged its vital work will continue.
The KEY Project provides advice, support and accommodation to young people aged 16-25 who are experiencing hardship or are threatened with homelessness.
It currently operates from the old Church of England school at St Mary’s Centre in Tyne Dock, South Shields.
But that building is being sold and will be flattened to make way for a new housing development.
That means that the project, which was set up in 1992 by volunteers from several local churches, needs to move into new premises.
The charity is seeking office accommodation for the 10 full-time and part-time workers and 15 volunteers who directly support and advise up to 100 young people each year.
Staff are considering a number of potential opportunities but nothing has been confirmed yet.
However, the charity is on the look-out for somewhere it can re-locate a food bank which operates from St. Mary’s Centre.
Today Jean Burnside, chief officer with the project, said: “There was no question of the service closing.
“We are, in fact, looking to expand the range of services we offer.
“We have been here for five years and we don’t want to move, but the building is being sold for development.
“We are on the lookout for somewhere to accommodate our food bank, so I would ask anyone who has a free unit or a lock-up where we can operate from to please get in touch.
“It’s not necessary that the offices and the food bank are at the same location.”
The outstanding work the project is doing was recognised last month when a top-level Parliamentary team paid a fact-finding visit.
It was organised by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, a member of the inquiry team, co-chaired by fellow MP Frank Field and the Rt. Rev. Tim Thornton, the Bishop of Truro.
Figures show that more than 1,680 people in South Tyneside visited food banks last year.
If you can help the KEY Project re-locate its food bank, call 496 9710.