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North East charity to create new hub for homeless people

A North East charity supporting those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, is set to expand after plans for a building extension received the green light.

North East Homeless currently offers a range of facilities – from advice and support to laundry and shower facilities, a cafe and even a social supermarket – at its drop-in centre at Northumberland Street, North Shields.

And now work is underway to transform its existing building into a multi-purpose centre, which will not only enable the charity to help more people but will also support its aim to become financially self-sustaining.

The £700k renovation will include upgrading the layout and fittings of the charity’s existing space – including the creation of a kitchen equipped to facilitate cookery classes and demonstrations.

There will be office space for the charity, along with a health suite and consultation rooms so service users can speak to experts in a variety of fields, from counsellors to housing advisors, in privacy.

Founder, Brian Burridge believes its services have never been more vital. He said:

“We have seen a rise in demand for some time but the cost-of-living crisis is really starting to bite now and more people than ever are falling through the gap.

This development will enable us to help more people, more efficiently and the addition of commercial space will give us an income, so instead of relying entirely on charitable donations, we can aim to be self-supporting.”

The Sir Graham Wylie Foundation has contributed £100,000 towards the project. Sir Graham said:

“They identified a need and have worked flat out to meet it, with professionalism, energy and above all, kindness and compassion.”

The charity also runs an outreach programme with pop-up food outlets and a freephone helpline number, to ensure its services can be accessed across the region.

It is hoped the new development will create 10 additional jobs throughout its operation.

Photo: North East Homeless