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TT2 throws £20,000 lifeline to struggling Tyneside foodbanks

TT2, which operates the Tyne Tunnels, has stepped in to support two North East foodbanks, including one in North Shields that has seen donations drop by nearly 50% because of the cost of living crisis.

TT2 has donated £10,000 to The Bay Foodbank in North Tyneside and a further £10,000 to Hebburn Helps in South Tyneside, both of which provide emergency food and toiletries to the people in their local communities.

In the run up to the busy festive period, TT2 will give the foodbanks a total of £20,000 to spend on food for people across North and South Tyneside who are struggling to make ends meet.

TT2 is offering the lifeline in response to a story spotted in the regional media, appealing for help.

Since it launched 10 years ago, The Bay Foodbank has prepared 45,000 boxes.

The Tyneside charity has relied on contributions from the public but, as stock has been running low, it now has to purchase products from supermarkets to meet demand.

Some of TT2’s employees volunteered at The Bay Foodbank last Christmas and will be volunteering again in January.

The foodbanks pride themselves on offering a high level of dignity to people who may never have used a food bank before.

Reverend Alan Dickinson, said there had been “a huge spike in demand” with around 30% of the people referred being in work but not managing on their wages.

Co-founder of The Bay foodbank Reverend Alan Dickinson added: “From April 2021 to March 2022 we supplied 6,053 parcels for 7,098 adults, 3,442 children and 158 babies, so hopefully this demonstrates just how vital every donation is and how much we sincerely appreciate what we are given.

“We could not exist without the generous donations from supporters such as TT2, so thank them for their co-operation in helping us feed people in our area who simply need assistance at difficult times”

In a quote given to the BBC*, The Reverend added: “It’s making us a bit cautious and weary for what’s coming, particularly towards Christmas.

“December traditionally is our busiest month and if the projections go ahead we are concerned about how we’ll manage demand.

“In the past two-to-three months we’ve seen a big drop-off in donations.

“Some of that is due to people donating to help in Ukraine but also some of it is that people don’t have the spare capacity financially and our donations are down about 45% on previous years.

“We’re subsidising it and having to buy from the supermarkets.”

Hebburn Helps has experienced a sharp, 37% rise in demand for its services, with their shelves completely emptying on a daily basis.

A spokesperson for Hebburn Helps said: “Thank you so much for your offer to donate £10,000 to help us through the festive season. This will go a long to help us provide aid against the cost of living to families and individuals in South Tyneside.

“Being a crisis response team during this current climate, we are being bombarded with so many households in desperate need. We appreciate any support we receive that will help us help those who need it most.”

TT2 Customer Operations Manager Shaun Simmons said: “Both The Bay Foodbank and Hebburn Helps are phenomenal charities who work tirelessly to help struggling families, so we wanted to help when we saw how desperate they are for donations.”

Both charities are currently seeking food donations of products that are non-perishable and can be cooked using a kettle or microwave, to save on energy costs.

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