Northumberland charity honoured for work during pandemic

A Northumberland-based charity has been honoured as a ‘community champion’.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 11:17 am
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2021, 11:50 am
From left Yasmin Ryan and Pam Smith of Helping Hands, with MP Guy Opperman.
From left Yasmin Ryan and Pam Smith of Helping Hands, with MP Guy Opperman.

Helping Hands Community Care, the largest independent homecare organisation operating in Tyne Valley and across Northumberland, was honoured by MP Guy Opperman for services to the community.

The organisation has played a key role during the coronavirus outbreak.

Branch manager Pam Smith and her team were nominated for going above and beyond during the pandemic, continuing to provide home care, meals, essential shopping, and overnight care to vulnerable people.

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A team of more than 500 homecare support workers have continued to travel around homes providing vital services.

Management has had to cope with increased staff shortages as personnel have been self-isolating, showing symptoms or been ill with COVID-19.

Social distancing rules meant that branch offices in both Hexham and Cramlington had to be reorganised and transfer to a new system of remote, home-based working.

Guy Opperman said: “It was fantastic to recognise the brilliant work of Pam and the whole Helping Hands team who have been nominated for this award by the community.

"Their work has helped to support the most vulnerable throughout this terrible pandemic.”

Pam said: “It has been a very challenging period due to the Covid pandemic, however, it is greatly appreciated that the community have recognised the continued hard work that Helping Hands staff have provided throughout this difficult time.”

David Harrison, MD of Helping Hands, said: “The last year and a half has been unlike any other situation or crisis the organisation has faced. The stress on the support team and families we support has been constant.

“I am so proud of how everyone across the organisation has stepped up to meet this challenge.

"The MP’s Community Champion Award is a lovely way for the staff to get some recognition and ‘thank you’ from the communities they serve.”