Students collect bags of cheer for those in need

Students from the Academy at Shotton Hall with their collection of food.
Students from the Academy at Shotton Hall with their collection of food.
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A food mountain has been collected by students as they do their bit to stock kitchen cupboards over Christmas.

In the run-up to the end of term, more than 1,000 pupils from The Academy at Shotton Hall in Peterlee have donated tins, packets, dried food and treats.

All of the students and their families have been extremely generous and have shown the true spirit of Christmas.

Valerie Bell

The items have now been sent to East Durham Trust’s Food Emergency East Durham (Feed) project, which is supported by a network of professionals and organisations who put those most in need in touch with the scheme.

It relies on donations of food and cash from people and businesses, with collection boxes being installed across the area to boost the stocks.

It is the third year students at the school have given the project their support.

Valerie Bell, assistant principal at the school, said: “The idea that they are helping neighbours, friends and their local community, especially at this time of year, motivates them to give generously.

“Every year I am amazed about how much food is collected in school.

“All of the students and their families have been extremely generous and have shown the true spirit of Christmas. We hope this food helps to ensure that no one goes hungry this Christmas.”

Referrals to Feed are made by headteachers, district and mental health nurses, domestic abuse help organisations and Macmillan. Those who ask for help directly are assessed before they are given any parcels.

The trust’s efforts are also helped by Durham Constabulary, One Point children’s service, the Safer Neighbourhoods Unit, Safer Durham Partnership, East Durham Area Action Partnership, Public Health County Durham and volunteer and community representatives.

Those who run the project have already helped more than 4,500 people since its launch four years ago.

A full list of items which can be donated through the charity’s base in Community House, Yoden Road, Peterlee, as well as drop-off points, is available via its website www.eastdurhamtrust.org.uk