A BIG-HEARTED couple say their dreams of running a community venture are coming true.
Paul and Brenda Tweddle launched their Wearside charity, Kidsmatta, in June 2010 with the aim of supporting disadvantaged children and their families.
Since then they have run dozens of activity days for youngsters, including day trips, set up a community allotment for them to work in, and also supported families by distributing donations of furniture and goods, including toys, and even organising holidays.
Now a kind benefactor, impressed by the dedication of the Sunderland pair, has stepped in and offered them full use of his empty building in Hendon’s Hudson Road, to run the charity from.
The couple, who have five children of their own, said they can’t thank their sponsor, who wants to remain anonymous, enough for his generosity in not only giving the full use of the building, but also offering help to refurbish it.
Paul, 48, said: “He had seen a piece in the Echo appealing for help to store some office furniture for us and rang us.
“He wanted to know more about the charity and what we wanted to do for these children and after we met him, he said he wanted to do whatever he could to help, especially as so many families in the city are struggling financially at the moment.
“It is absolutely amazing that we can grow the charity and offer so much more.
“But it is for the community and we would love as many people as possible to come on board.”
The idea for Kidsmatta came from Brenda, who had been involved with other charities but wanted to set up something of her own, and has worked tirelessly to help children and families.
The 47-year-old said: “I am still in shock really, it is like a dream come true for us to have premises of our own. It is a godsend. Although we will be based in Hendon, Kidsmatta is for the whole of Sunderland.”
The couple have big plans for the services they will be able to run from the massive building, such as opening a shop and cafe, a gym area where they can run a range of exercise classes, arts and craft areas, a youth club and much more.
Kidsmatta already has about eight volunteers, but many more are needed to turn the building into the vibrant community facility Paul and Brenda want it to be.
l Anyone, including tradesmen who can offer any help at all, are asked to contact Paul on 07737691540 or Brenda on 07578407142.