Hebburn group praises public over festive generosity

Hebburn Helps. From left Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin
Hebburn Helps. From left Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin

Two women who launched a group dedicated to helping struggling families in part of South Tyneside say they have been left “overwhelmed” by people’s generosity.

When Jo Durkin and Angie Comerford set up Hebburn Helps - a community voluntary organisation - in 2015 they had no idea what was in store for them.

As time went on, they discovered the service they were providing was becoming more and more invaluable to families who had hit hard financial times.

This year, the pair who run Hebburn Helps in the grounds of South Tyneside Children’s Centre in Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, say they have been taken aback by the generosity shown by the public in particular in the run up to Christmas.

The women, along with a team of volunteers have spent countless hours creating food hampers and sorting toys to be distributed to struggling families ahead of Christmas Day.

It is thought around 60 Christmas dinners could be prepared while at least 90 advent hampers packed with food stuff will be delivered.

A large number of toys will also be handed out to families to wrap ahead of the big day.

Angie said: “This year has been absolutely crazy.

“The generosity shown by people is amazing. We are just getting more and more donations and more and more people coming forward with items. “While it is lovely to see, it is also sad that all these donations and more are so desperately needed.

“So far we are aiming to provide 40 Christmas dinners, although that could possibly rise to 60 and we are looking at distributing 90 advent hampers and lots of toys.

“The word thank you really doesn’t seem to cut it.

“I feel like I’m saying thank you on a daily basis but it doesn’t seem enough for the generosity so many people have shown.

“It really is overwhelming - especially this year. The support we have received is phenomenal and the families really do appreciate it - it’s a lovely position to be in.”

Hebburn Helps is always looking for donations of food, clothes and anything else that others can use.

Hebburn Helps also runs a weekly welfare advice service with a trained advisor and a drop-in service for those aged 16-24 who are facing homelessness in conjunction with the Key Project.

For information on Hebburn Helps or to offer support visit hebburnhelps.co.uk or email admin@hebburnhelps.co.uk.