The Cedarwood Trust runs a range of services, daily activities and support groups on the Meadowell Estate, North Shields, which are accessed by around 25,000 people every year.
Around 63,000 meals have been provided to local people since the beginning of the pandemic and a new subscription service enabling users to access food supplies at a far lower cost than in the shops has been launched.
Now a £3,000 Newcastle Building Society grant has enabled the Trust to enhance the training opportunities available within its kitchen academy for local young people wanting to learn new workplace and life skills, as well as to extend its opening hours.
CEO Wayne Dobson said: “The pandemic has seen a huge shift in food insecurity, especially when schools were closed and children were unable to access the lunches that are so important to their well-being, so we developed a range of different responses to ensure people can get the help they need when they need it.
“We’ve worked with local suppliers to set up a food subscription service that provides its members with £15 worth of goods for just £4, which stops users reaching crisis point and gives them both choice and dignity in their shopping.
“Our kitchen academy provides opportunities for young people to develop skills that will be useful for the whole of their lives, but also offers access to affordable, high-quality meals to anyone that needs them.
“Many of those who would benefit from visiting us are working during the day, so we’ve extended our hours to ensure that we’re available when they need us.
“Newcastle Building Society’s generous support in enabling us to do this means we can direct the money we would otherwise have had to spend towards other priorities and means we’re able to reach more people in need.”
Lyndsey Black, customer advisor at Newcastle Building Society, said: “The breadth of the Cedarwood Trust’s work across our community is remarkable and it touches the lives of tens of thousands of local families.
“Tackling food poverty has been one of the priorities for the Society’s grant-giving programme this year and we’re proud to be supporting the incredible work being done by the Trust team.”