Cash boost paints a happy picture for organisation’s youth projects

Celebrating Support - Morpeth Branch with Barnabus.
Celebrating Support - Morpeth Branch with Barnabus.

A BUSY young people’s project is feeling grand after picking up more than £1,000 in funding.

Barnabas Safe and Sound, which provides youth services and supported housing for young people in Northumberland, has been presented with the funds by the Morpeth branch of Newcastle Building Society.

The community project, which is based in Dark Lane, Morpeth, was selected as the branch’s Charity of the Year and staff set up fund-raising activities through the society’s Cornerstone of the Community programme.

They included cake and book sales and a photography competition where people were invited to submit pictures for a calendar, which was sold in the branch in aid of Barnabas.

Staff member Nicola Angel went the extra mile, taking part in the Great North Run and completing it in two hours 32 minutes.

The proceeds were counted up and Branch Manager Katie Johnson presented Barnabas with a cheque for £1,113.

She said: “This is a great charity and one our staff and members supported really well. As a community-based branch it’s so important to us to support a local charity, especially one that helps local young people.

“We enjoyed every minute of our fund-raising and are delighted with the total raised.”

To show their appreciation, members of a Barnabas-run youth club have donated one of their paintings from an art project to the branch.

The Angel of the North painting was handed over by Barnabas Manager Chris Menzies.

He said: “Katie and her team have shown outstanding enthusiasm for our work. Morpeth is a busy branch, but the staff have demonstrated fund-raising abilities above and beyond the day to day business activities of the branch and have actively involved their customers in raising awareness of Barnabas Safe and Sound.

“These activities have resulted in a great achievement over the year.

“Business and community support like this makes a real difference, enabling our charity to improve facilities and provide more activities that compliment our work.

“In addition to this, the Cornerstone of the Community programme has helped Barnabas connect with members of the community who we would not normally be in contact with. This has been really valuable.”

The charity will use the cash to buy new equipment for its supported housing project and is also considering setting up another art project for the youth group and people using its accommodation services.

Meanwhile, Barnabas has big plans for its Morpeth centre and is looking to raise around £240,000 to make more use of the premises.

There is currently one flat for emergency accommodation provided in former office space, but the charity hopes to create a further four flats, as well as make more office space.

“We are currently looking at how we can make the best of refurbishing our offices for providing supported accommodation. The flat we have at the moment has been quite successful and well used for emergency accommodation over the past year,” said Mr Menzies.

“We would also like to create more office space so we can have staff there overnight to help manage the accommodation.”

The charity hopes to appoint a fund-raiser in the near future.

Anyone wishing to support Barnabas can apply for one of its ten Great North Run places. For details call 01670 514881.