£30,000 community kitchen campaign launched to help Hartlepool families in need

A £30,000 fundraising campaign has been launched to help feed homeless and hungry people in Hartlepool.

A Hartlepool church community facility that feeds 100 people a week hopes to raise £30,000 for a much-needed new kitchen.

Katherine Batty parish administrator in the soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

Katherine Batty parish administrator in the soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

St Aidan’s kitchen in Hartlepool currently feeds the homeless, needy and lonely on just one microwave oven, three slow cookers and two kettles.

Now it has launched a fundraising drive to build a kitchen so it can help even more people more often.

Church bosses say that the new kitchen will ‘make a significant difference to the whole town’ and will allow them to help even more people in desperate need.

The numbers of people visiting the kitchen at St Aidan’s Church every Thursday has grown from 15 when it first opened its doors last August to 100 now.

The soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

The soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

Reverend Gemma Sampson said: “The kitchen is for the hungry, the homeless, lonely and anyone who wants to come.

“At the moment we serve all of the food from one microwave, two kettles and three slow cookers our volunteers bring in.

“We wash up in washing up bowls filled from the kettles.

“A new kitchen will make things a lot easier and mean we can feed a lot more people.

Volunteer Charlotte Harris washing dirty dishes from the soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church, being washed in a office. Picture by Frank Reid

Volunteer Charlotte Harris washing dirty dishes from the soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church, being washed in a office. Picture by Frank Reid

“It means we will be able to be open more often and for longer. It will really make a significant difference to the whole town.

“We have got architects plans drawn up and everything is ready to go, we just need the funds.”

Rev Sampson said they will be applying to grant giving organisations and a number of supporters have pledged to hold events to try to reach the £30,000 target.

She added: “The best way people in town can be involved would be to donate through our Just Giving page.”

Andrea Thubron carries dirty dishes from the soup kitchen through St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

Andrea Thubron carries dirty dishes from the soup kitchen through St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

Rev Sampson said she has been staggered at the level of need for the kitchen which is open every Thursday between 11am-1pm.

Like Hartlepool Foodbank, the church is also seeing the effects of Universal Credit.

“People were just being stuck with no money for six to eight weeks,” she said.

“This is absolutely what the church should be doing.

“It is just unacceptable the level of need in this town.”

To make a donation to the fund go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aidans-new-kitchen

Katherine Batty parish administrator in the soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

Katherine Batty parish administrator in the soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

The soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid

The soup kitchen held in St Aidans Church. Picture by Frank Reid