YOUNG people who found themselves homeless over the festive season were treated to a slap-up meal at a South Tyneside restaurant.
Teenagers who are getting help from supported accommodation charity, The Key Project, were invited for a curry at Spice 1.
The restaurant, in South Avenue, Harton, South Shields, is owned by Shah Amin who wanted to do something for the community – in particular those who were homeless or at risk of being made homeless.
After contacting the Key Project – which has been supporting young homeless people in South Tyneside for more than 22 years – he offered the charity a free meal at his restaurant.
Mr Amin said: “We wanted to do something to raise awareness of homelessness and dispel some of the myths surrounding homelessness.
“We are very proud to support the homelessness agenda and hopefully this evening is not just a one-off, but we can continue this in the future.
“We are a family-run restaurant and believe that we have a responsibility to support our community no matter what people’s backgrounds are.
“Many people think that homeless people are all drug addicts, sleep on the streets or choose to be homeless for example. We wanted to do our part in helping to inform people that many young people could be in this situation because of family breakdown, debt or domestic violence.
“These young people are extremely vulnerable and need as much expert help from organisations such as The Key Project.”
The Key Project provides support, advice and accommodation to young people aged 16 to 25 years old.
It was set up in 1992 by volunteers from local churches. It now employs 10 workers, both full and part-time, and supports up to 100 young people each year.
The project also offers mediation between young people and parents and supports young people with independent living.
Ross Allen, services manager for the Key Project, said: “The festive season can be a difficult time for those we work with, especially as many have little or no family contact, so for our residents to be given the opportunity to go to the restaurant for a meal in such salubrious surroundings is fantastic.”
For more information on The Key Project and to offer support visit www.keyproject.org.uk