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Youth group secures funding to bring Christmas cheer

posted 30 Nov 2015, 04:56 by Web Admin

New Generation, our young person’s group, has secured Stage 4 funding from The Key based in Newcastle, to provide food essentials and Christmas gifts and treats to users of Redcar Area Foodbank over the Christmas period.

The Group secured £2000 of funding for its ‘Food 4 Thought @ Christmas’ project, which will distribute parcels to over 300 food bank users. New Generation estimates that it will reach 40 single people and 64 families throughout the Christmas period.

Food 4 Thought @ Christmas is the idea of Chloe Pettite and Lacey Horton, both aged 17, and Sophie McCormick, aged 19. Their project has been commended by The Key as just 1% of young person’s groups reach Stage 4.

The Key is a North East based social enterprise that runs a step-by-step programme to help young people in the region develop skills such as negotiation, planning and autonomy, and supports them to run their own projects to the benefit of the local community.

Steph Pew, Community Investment Officer supports the New Generation Group. She said: “We are all so proud of Chloe, Lacey and Sophie’s achievements. They have put a massive amount of time and effort into the project and are now seeing the fruits of their labour.

“A considerable amount of work goes into a project like Food 4 Thought @ Christmas. The girls did a huge amount of research to find out how many food banks there were locally, what services they provided and how they could work with them.

“They then had to cost each hamper and work to a tight budget, which meant they had to negotiate prices and source donations.

“The girls have grown in confidence, developed new relationships, learnt new skills and are now applying these in their personal, college and university lives.”

Chloe said: “Originally we wanted to help orphans in Romania, but after the SSI Steelworks closed down we were inspired to help people within our own community.

“As more people are affected by the job losses, the strain on services such as food banks increases, particularly in winter when many people are forced to choose between heating and eating.”

Sophie said: “Christmas is supposed to be a time of happiness, togetherness and family. But for many people in the area, this Christmas will be spent worrying about whether they can afford to celebrate.

“Many people will make sacrifices so that their children can still enjoy the festive period. Many will skip meals so that their children can eat. People don’t go to food banks out of choice; it is a last resort for people who are struggling.”

Lacey added “If we can help support them and lift their spirits so that they aren’t worrying where the next meal will come from and can enjoy Christmas, then Food4Thought @ Christmas will have been a success.

“Coast & Country and The Key have been a massive help throughout the planning and preparation stages. This project has taught us all so much about ourselves and how we can all make a difference in our community with proper planning and motivation.”