Community kitchen workers in Hebburn praised for their pandemic efforts feeding those in need

Two community kitchen workers have been honoured for their efforts to keep schoolchildren and vulnerable residents fed through the toughest pinch points of the pandemic.

Tersa Stobbart and Freda Young were presented with certificates and flower bouquets by the Mayor of South Tyneside to thank them for their work.

Bedewell Kitchen in Hebburn was established as a centre for emergency food parcel packing and delivery to homes following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK.

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Schools would place orders for parcels for families unable to attend school because their bubble had been closed. Or, alternatively, parents could call South Tyneside Council to order one directly.

Teresa Stobbart (left), with new borough mayor, Councillor Pat Hay (centre), and Freda Young (right).Teresa Stobbart (left), with new borough mayor, Councillor Pat Hay (centre), and Freda Young (right).
Teresa Stobbart (left), with new borough mayor, Councillor Pat Hay (centre), and Freda Young (right).

Chef Teresa and Kitchen Assistant Freda had previously prepared meals for nurseries across the borough.

But now suddenly they had an additional new and critically important role – delivering groceries to families who were self-isolating, or absent from school because their school had been forced to close to most children.

Teresa set about preparing her orders for food stock for parcels, and the deliveries to homes across South Tyneside began.

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"We are both really honoured to get the award,” Teresa told The Gazette.

"It's been quite hard work putting it together and then working out all the different addresses to take them to.

"But it's been really fulfilling to know you're doing something positive. It was made a lot easier because I had a good team behind me, with Freda and all the other staff. There were four of us all together.

"There were certain areas I was going to regularly and the parents were very grateful for the packages. There are obviously a lot of issues with parents being out of work or unable to go out during the pandemic.

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"So every little bit helps. That extra little bit can really make a massive difference."

In total, Teresa and Freda have delivered well over 1,000 parcels to people’s homes, and many more to schools during the tough pandemic months.

The South Tyneside Mayor, Councillor Pat Hay, said she was delighted to be presenting the pair with awards recognising their sustained efforts.

She said they showed an “outstanding contribution to the community of South Tyneside, providing a lifeline to so many children and families”.

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