Why M People star Heather Small is Proud to be helping the homeless in South Tyneside

Chart star Heather Small is helping to tackle homelessness in South Tyneside.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 10:33 am
Heather Small performs in Bents Park

The M People star will be in South Shields tomorrow, Wednesday, August 21, for the opening of a new development.

Heather is a director of charity Homeless Worldwide, which is working with Newcastle-based Supporting Lives and South Tyneside Borough Council to create new accommodation in Beach Road.

Residency is conditional on a no-drug policy and criminal record check.

Founder Jenny Roberts set up Homeless Worldwide eight months ago, after the death of her brother, Darren Ledger, in London at Christmas 2017.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Heather Small became involved shortly afterwards when Jenny decided to record a fund-raising single: “Through my management, she asked if I would be involved and it just felt like something that I should be doing,” said Heather.

“It is an issue that is close to my heart.

“I just thought here was this woman who was determined to make a difference for her brother and I wanted to be part of that.

“She asked me to be a director and I said yes – she works so hard and I am up for that.”

Heather is delighted that Homeless Worldwide is working with Saving Lives and has been to see for herself what the charity has been doing in Newcastle.

“When the opportunity came along, it just felt very right,” she said.

“We spoke to the people involved, we went to look at how they ran their housing.

“It is not just about the accommodation – it is about making the transition from being homeless back to being part of a community, part of society.

“We have people who are coming together to help each other and we have hard-working staff from the local area to provide support.”

Opening Homeless World’s first accommodation in the North East is particularly special for Jenny: “Her mother grew up in South Shields and her father in Wallsend, so opening our first homeless centre in a place she and her siblings would come on holiday is very special,” she Heather.

Jenny added: “We look forward spending time with the new residents, helping them as much as we can to settle in to their new home.”