A North East homelessness charity has launched an urgent appeal after seeing an ‘unprecedented’ rise in the number of people being forced into hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.
North East Homeless has said that job losses and cuts in universal credit, among other things, have meant that people who never thought they would be reliant on food banks are now in need of support from the charity. It comes as the organisation calls on people to donate £5 to give a warm meal to someone in need on Christmas Eve. The charity hopes to raise enough money to serve around 200 Christmas dinners at Newcastle Central Station on December 24.
“Due to Covid-19 we are seeing a significant increase in numbers and especially people who are new to the benefits system,” said charity CEO Emma Burridge. “People who have lost their jobs because of the impact of Covid-19 are very much in poverty and at risk of homelessness. The face of homelessness is changing once again and we desperately need support to allow us to react to these changes and give practical, reactive, and common-sense support.”
The North Shields-based charity provides survival equipment, homeless support, hot food and a chance for people to meet and talk with outreach support across the North East region. Last year’s Christmas Eve event had to be cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions but generous Geordies still managed to raise £25,000 to help those in need. Now the charity is calling on for the support of people in the region once again as a team of volunteers prepare to put on the festive event in the city centre.
A £5 donation will provide a warm Christmas Eve dinner to someone less fortunate and, for many, it may be the only Christmas gift they receive. The charity also hopes to raise enough funds to hand out bags of essential items like thermal socks and gloves to homeless people.