Ashington Town Council is continuing to assist with the transportation of food and toiletries, donated by the community of Ponteland, for people across Northumberland.

The donations have been made via the social media group Ponteland Community. The group are volunteers who have come together to offer support to those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. A request for food and toiletry donations for those in need was made via their Facebook site and the group have been delighted with the response. The volunteers have also been supported in their efforts by the Hilton Double Tree Hotel at Newcastle airport.

At the commencement of the coronavirus pandemic Northumberland County Council launched the Northumberland Communities Together project. The project aims to make sure residents of the county are kept safe and well throughout this crisis and coordinates support for volunteers, voluntary groups and communities. The project has worked with the volunteers from Ponteland in coordinating the distribution of the donations to those in need. 

Ashington Town Council has worked in partnership with Communities Together in transporting the donations to the hub, for the project, at Blyth Sports Centre. The food and toiletries are now being distributed to those in need across the county with the Town Council directly distributing food to organisations in Ashington such as Real Deal Plus, based at the town’s old Police Station.

In the photograph is Ashington’s Town & County Councillor Lynne Grimshaw and Neighbourhood Services Officer, Garry Maddison, at the Double Tree Hotel, with some of the donations.

Helen Bridges, part of the volunteer team from Ponteland Community (which also included Ela Akay, Meg Ellis, Gordon Allan and Andrew Morton), said 'We asked for a volunteer on each street to place a box outside their home and residents & businesses were asked to make donations. In the first week alone we had over 7,000 items donated and the campaign is still running. We would particularly like to thank the Double Tree Hotel for their support in providing storage and helping with the dispatch'. 

Fiona Wardlow, Locality Co-ordinator at Communities Together, said ‘We welcome the very kind donation of food and toiletries from the community of Ponteland and we really appreciate the efforts of Ashington Town Council’s staff and councillors in ensuring that it quickly goes to those in need in our communities’.

Kath Falcus, from Real Deal Plus in Ashington, that has benefited from the donations, said ‘It’s really good to see everyone working together so those in need do not go hungry in these most difficult of times. As always we appreciate the on-going support of the Town Council as well as the very kind donation from the community of Ponteland which we will ensure will go to those in need in our town’.

Cllr. Matthew Cuthbert, Leader of Ashington Town Council, adds ‘The Town Council is delighted to work in partnership with a number of organisations to ensure those in need are supported through these difficult times. Since the lockdown the Town Council has also financially supported a number of organisations actively working in our town, such as the Wansbeck Valley Foodbank and Northumberland Community Bank, with funding of almost £50,000 which is a significant contribution’.    

For more information and advice on coronavirus and the support available in the Ashington area, including at Real Deal Plus, please visit www.ashingtontowncouncil.gov.uk/advice-and-information-on-caronavirus