A look inside life at Hebburn Helps

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Take a look inside life at Hebburn Helps and the work the volunteers do to provide help and support to the community.

On a recent visit to Hebburn Helps I met with co-founder Angie Comerford to find out a little bit more about the charity and the work the volunteers do.

Although one of Hebburn Helps’ main services is its food bank and providing food parcels to those in need the charity is so much more than that and has become a lifeline to so many in the community since opening its doors in 2015.

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Since then it has transformed into a one-stop shop where people can access all kinds of services and support including adults clothing, kids clothing, baby equipment, toys, household items and more.

Angie with a food donationAngie with a food donation
Angie with a food donation

Whilst the services and support are vital to so many in the community they would cease to exist without the hard work from the volunteers at Hebburn Helps who ensure people have something to eat, clothes to keep warm or even just someone to talk to.

Angie spoke about how vital their services are: “We aren’t just a food bank anymore, we are a clothing bank, baby bank, a pet food bank. Any kind of bank you can think of we can aim to provide.

"Without us a lot of people would suffer and struggle as a lot of people rely on us. Yeah it is a lifeline and I wouldn’t like to think what it would be like if we weren’t here.”

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Angie and the team put the people of South Tyneside first and extended their services to cater for everyone such as providing Christmas dinners for OAPs, activities during school holidays and their introduction of The Den – a space to host community groups and more.

Now more than ever the team are working harder to ensure the donations come in as the cost-of-living crisis has forced many people to choose between heating their homes or eating. This has resulted in many more people walking through the doors at Hebburn Helps for a food parcel which puts more pressure on the team.

In the area where all the food was kept I was surrounded by shelves of food, toiletries and pet food which are all used countless times each day to put together a food parcel. As Angie guided me around the shelves showing me what goes in a typical food parcel it made me realise just how much the current economic state is impacting so many.

Basic necessities have become impossible for some people to afford due to the rising costs of rent, gas and electric and so on but not enough money to subsidise it. Whilst the shelves seemed full when I was there I knew they would not stay that way for long with so many people in need of a food parcel.

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Whilst the operational hours of Hebburn Helps is 9am – 2pm on weekdays the work does not stop there. Each day the team work hard from packaging up food parcels, arranging collections, helping elderly residents in the community or offering advice to someone in need just to ensure that everyone who needs it gets help.

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