A festive helping hand for those in need in Hartlepool

James Pallister and Claire Ashley from Project 85 with items  that they are giving out to vulnerable people this Christmas  Picture by FRANK REID
James Pallister and Claire Ashley from Project 85 with items that they are giving out to vulnerable people this Christmas Picture by FRANK REID

A new project saw food and goods handed out to the homeless and those in need in Hartlepool.

Project 85 has been launched at Belle Vue Community Centre in partnership with Supported Steps, to give help to the most vulnerable in the town.

Ronnie Rowbotham from Project 85 talking to a client, in the Belle Vue Sports Centre  Picture by FRANK REID

Ronnie Rowbotham from Project 85 talking to a client, in the Belle Vue Sports Centre Picture by FRANK REID

As part of the initiative the group decided to hold an event where people in need were invited along for a warm meal and given Christmas gifts and essential items.

Claire Ashley, project manager at the centre, said in just four hours more than 35 people went along to take advantage of the helping hand.

She said: “It made us more determined than ever that there is definitely a need for this service and we will be holding it once a fortnight in the coming year.”

Claire said Project 85 wanted to spread a little festive cheer to anyone who is struggling, people who are homeless or those who are in financial hardship.

There is definitely a need for this service

Claire Ashley

She said: “The project is a community venture designed to bring people together.”

Visitors over the four hours, which included four children, all received hot food, a mince pie and hot chocolate as well as warm clothing, toiletries and a food parcel.

It was also a way to inform people about what other help and services are available to them, both in the centre and the wider town, that they might not have been aware off, including the free Christmas lunch which is organised by Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency.

Claire said: “Those who came were very appreciative of the service received, one visitor said ‘if it wasn’t for people like you putting on these events we would have nothing’.”

Anyone who would like to make donations to support the homeless and vulnerable in the town can take them to the Kendal Road centre.