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Five Charities Reshaping the North East

 

Well-known nationwide for being a friendly region, it comes as no surprise that the North East has many charities. Here at Listed, we have hand-picked 5 local charities who should be admired for re-shaping the North East’s incredible individuals, landscapes and heritage.

1. Feeding Families

Christmas is arguably the most wonderful time of the year. But for many, it’s a difficult time as resources are limited even further to cover the additional costs of Christmas. That’s why, on Christmas 2016, Feeding Families was formed. Starting out as just six food hampers being delivered to local families in need, Feeding Families made their first step towards what would become the great charity that it is today. 

In October the following year, social media came to the charity’s aid when searching for participating families for Christmas 2017. Quickly, many families were interested in both donating to help families in need, as well as other families wishing to receive. 

Fast forward to 2019, Feeding Families delivered over 3000 Christmas hampers across the North East with the help of the local people.

Now, in 2021, Feeding Families operates a weekly packing centre in 2 locations, (Byers Green Spennymoor and Gateshead) which produces year-round food boxes, alongside other local charities and organisations.

Feeding Families define a family as any single or group of family members, so they are not exclusive in who they help regarding age, size of family, or gender.

Feeding Families Emergency Boxes can help feed a family for two to three days.

Want to help? Here is the emergency food list – email sarahmcphie@feedingfamilies.org.uk for more information on how you can organise your own collection, or alternatively, you can volunteer within other aspects within the charity, such as delivery or individual support.

“To provide relief to any person experiencing poverty, primarily in North East England. We will do this, in particular but not exclusively, through the provision of food, education and other resources which they could not otherwise afford.”

Charitable Purpose – Feeding Families

2. Children North East

Growing up can be hard.

Thanks to Children North East, the lives of hundreds of local babies, children, and young people improve with their support.

What started out as a seaside trip organised by the Poor Children’s Holiday Association in 1891, lead to what is now known and loved as Children North East.

After the success of the first trip, local funding helped organise weekly seaside trips for many children living in poverty in Newcastle’s slums.

“Then, as now, our ethos was around giving them a hand up, not a hand out.”

– Children North East ethos

The charity was renamed Children North East in 1988, and its focal point has been to support children, schools and communities. Without judgement, Children North East have a self-proclaimed flexible approach and never gives up. 

As well as helping children in need, support is also offered to struggling parents who need a helping hand – Newcastle Parent Infant Partnership team, or NEWPIP for short.

A success story from Children North East comes from Cara Sidney, a new mother who, after going through a traumatic birth and sadly losing her grandmother, struggled with deteriorating mental health. Cara described her experience with her year of therapy as a ‘lifeline’ and that it has positively transformed her life and her relationship with her daughter, Rosa. Cara’s story confirms that there is no shame in asking for help!

3. North East Autism Society

The North East Autism Society was founded in 1980, by a group of parents who had autistic children. Their aim was to send their children to a school that understood the autistic spectrum, and who could offer proper support and allow the children to flourish.

Since the beginning, Thornhill Park School has been the heart of regional and national resources for the society. Soon after, children’s services were developed which offered autistic children year-round residential care. With a 24 hour programme of development for social skills, communication and leisure, educational and care staff join forces. In the early 1990s, Adult Services came into play to provide support to adults aged 19 and above.

In the present day, The North East Autism Society boasts almost 1000 staff, three schools, a vocational training farm, social and vocational programmes, employment services, family workshops, residential homes, supported living arrangements, and many more.

“Our approach aims to support individuals to participate in society as independent and valued citizens, enjoying equal rights and opportunities but also enriching the world around them.”

– North East Autism Society

The aim of the society is to support individuals living with autism, to participate in society with equal rights and opportunities as those living without autism. The society believes autistic children and adults have remarkable skills and strengths which can be developed.

A heartwarming story from the North East Autism Society includes the wedding of Mandy Williams-Bland, whose son Ryan, 22, has complex health needs. Due to this, Mandy didn’t think her son would be able to attend her dream wedding due to the potential distress.

At first, Mandy organised a short break trip for Ryan over her wedding weekend, so that Ryan could have a fun holiday. After hearing about the situation, the short break team at North East Autism society went above and beyond for Mandy and Ryan, by accompanying Ryan to the wedding for additional support so he could be there on the big day at Lumley Castle.

Since the wedding, Ryan has been noticeably more happy and confident due to the society’s support and love. The staff adapted to Ryan’s individual health needs on the day and provide support on other occasions and trips. 

4. Angel Trust

The Angel Trust is a charity developed by a motivated and inspirational board of Trustees. The Trust knows that everyone may need a little help at some point and they are there to help when that time comes.

The charity is for the local people of County Durham and Darlington. They aim to make life that little bit easier and make people smile. The support of many trustees and ambassadors makes sure the charity can help as many people as possible.

In June, the trust surprised 3-year old Harry with a teepee sleepover. Earlier this year, Harry was diagnosed with a brain tumor after an optical exam. Thankfully, the tumor was removed swiftly and Harry is making a great recovery! Just Sparkle Teepee Sleepover packages kindly donated a sleepover for little Harry and his friends for being so brave.

“A charity for the people.”

– The Angel Trust

Similarly, the trust surprised local woman Julie with a gift. Julie broke both of her arms after falling at home, and during her recovery had to put everything on pause to care for her parents after becoming ill. Unfortunately, Julie’s father passed, but she still vigorously continued caring for her family alongside also working as a teaching assistant. Due to Julie’s selflessness and care, The Angel Trust gifted Julie a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a fabulous spa day at Ramside Hall Hotel for a day of well-deserved relaxation and treatments.

5. The Auckland Project

Located in the quaint countryside of County Durham, stands Bishop Auckland.

The seemingly small town is rich in history, housing the 12th century Auckland Castle.

The Auckland Project is an organisation devoted to the conservation and regeneration of the Castle. The Castle was once the former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham, and the Auckland Project wishes to celebrate this unique heritage.

The Auckland Project has 4 key elements that they commend; Individuals, helping people by creating job opportunities, and over the pandemic, they were able to distribute over 20,000 frozen meals to local people in need. Community, by building partnerships and creating a tourist market and supporting small local businesses. The natural environment, by the protection and conservation of the natural landscape of Bishop Auckland. And finally, the built environment in which they aim to restore the historical aspects of the building and surrounding areas.

Re-opening on 2nd November 2019, the 900-year-old castle opened its doors to 1,000 visitors after a 3-year extensive remodelling thanks to The Auckland Project. Earlier this year, the organisation also discovered that the clock tower bell dates back to the 12th century and is older than the tower itself and the recently discovered medieval Bek’s Chapel.

“By opening up Auckland Castle to the public and working to bring it back to its original opulent splendour, we started this mission to make the rich heritage of Bishop Auckland available for everyone to enjoy.”

– The Auckland Project

The local people of Bishop Auckland are the heart and soul of the Auckland Project and it is the forefront of the Project to reciprocate that and keep the people of Bishop Auckland at the heart of their organisation too.

Interested in hearing more about these charities, donating, or volunteering? Below are links to the websites of each charity listed in today’s article.

Feeding Families – https://feedingfamilies.org.uk/

Children North East – https://children-ne.org.uk/

North East Autism Society – https://www.ne-as.org.uk/

Angel Trust – https://www.angeltrust.co.uk/

The Auckland Project – https://aucklandproject.org/

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