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Charity which helped mum and daughter up for award

Helping hands....L-R Karen Bainbridge of Tyne Gateway Trust, Mandie and Tiana Smedley
Helping hands....L-R Karen Bainbridge of Tyne Gateway Trust, Mandie and Tiana Smedley

A charity which helped a mother and daughter get back on track after a bereavement is in line for a national award.

Tyne Gateway Trust stepped in after Mandie Smedley broke her leg not long after losing her husband Mark – leaving her daughter Tiana, then nine, to become her carer.

If it wasn’t for Tyne Gateway, I don’t know what I would have done.

Mandie Smedley

With mounting debts and financial problems due to being unable to work, Mandie says the family hit rock bottom.

She said: “I was unable to work due to my injuries and Tiana was caring for me, she was only nine. I was so isolated and it was rubbing off on my daughter. I felt so guilty for the life she was living.”

Tyne Gateway – which supports disadvantaged families and communities – stepped in to help the family after meeting them at the school Tiana, now 11, attended.

A family entrepreneur – Karen Bainbridge – was appointed to aid the family, helping them apply for a council house, supporting Tiana by taking her school when her mum couldn’t, funding bespoke counselling for her and arranging support from the Young Carer’s Association.

Mandie added: “If it hadn’t been for Karen and Tyne Gateway, I simply don’t know what I would have done. I can’t thank them enough.”

The charity has worked with more than 300 families and 60 schools and is short-listed for a national award due to its unique and pioneering approach to improving lives of families and children living within the North East.

The charity is the only one in the area to be shortlisted in the education category and stands to win £2,000.

The winner will be the charity which gains the most votes during the voting period which runs until July 29. To vote visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk