Marsden Road Community Centre opens home hub to support residents struggling with heating bills and the Cost of Living Crisis this winter

A South Shields community centre is offering a home hub with free heating and meals this winter, encouraging those in need to speak out and visit for support.

Bosses at the Marsden Road Community Centre are encouraging anyone in need of support this winter to seek out their offer of a home hub for residents, complete with free heating and meals - or just someone to talk to.

The home hub, which was set up in light of the cost of living in crisis, means those struggling with growing financial costs can visit the centre to get warm, enjoy a toastie and have a chat with staff, volunteers or other residents.

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The home hub runs every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, between 12 - 3.30pm, and is a vital aspect of support during these difficult times, according to centre manager Katherine Mason-Gage.

Katherine Mason-Gage manager of the Marsden Home Hub. (Standing centre) with staff Frank, Janet, Sherina, Margaret and Janet Picture by FRANK REID'
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She said: “We’re very aware of how the cost of living crisis is affecting everyone at the minute and we want to make the centre a place where anyone can come and be supported in a friendly, homely place.

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"We want to hopefully take the strain off people a little bit and help the community in any way we can.

“I think it’s important to support one another and for a community to have that real sense of identity and values of helping people.

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Katherine Mason-Gage manager of the Marsden Home Hub. Picture by FRANK REID'

"We also provide people who can be isolated somewhere to go and lend an ear whenever needed, which I think is vital as well.”

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In addition to the home hub, the centre also runs a community shop offering low cost household items for no more 50p, as well as a number of fitness and sport classes.

The centre has a small team of paid staff but is also supported by around 15 volunteers, who offer their time to help the centre.

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Katherine added: “Volunteers are massively important to us. We couldn’t do half of what we do here without our volunteers.

Carol (left) and Margaret sort out the pieces of their Jig Saw as Marsden Home Hub. Picture by FRANK REID'
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"They help with everything and are absolutely fantastic. Some spend hours and hours here helping us out and helping others even when they don’t have to. They’re a familiar face some people need are just vital to us.”

Marsden Road Community Centre is open 9am – 8pm, Monday - Friday, and 9am-4pm on Saturdays.

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Marsden Home Hub. Staff member and user Frank enjoying a cup of tea Picture by FRANK REID'