Improving Lives

Hebburn Helps Community Food Bank & Crisis Response Team Shop Renovation Project.

English and language Classes
Life coaching and integration workshops
Eco, food, and waste management education
Befriending events for isolated service users
Tea/Coffee events for over 50's
Arts and Crafts Sessions
Inclusive homework support for school aged children.

Overview of the project

Hebburn Helps was founded in 2015 and they are a voluntary community organisation that was set up to help local families who are finding it hard and struggling to make ends meet. They provide food parcels, adult and children’s clothing, baby equipment, toys, household items and more, to families & individuals from our region in their time of need. Having outgrown their current premises, Hebburn Helps were given three vacant shops in the local town centre, by the local council, which needed total renovation. This is where Mears stepped in after Senior Supervisor, Dave Leonard, saw the opportunity for Mears to support Hebburn Helps, by helping with the renovation of the three shops. Starting on the 10th October 2021 and now almost complete, Dave and his team of ten operatives have transformed the rundown buildings into three new shops, which means they can now continue to support the local community on a much bigger scale and help even more people in these uncertain times.

What was the aim of the project? What local problem was it solving?

The aim of our project was to support such a fantastic charity by offering the skills and expertise of numerous tradesmen to help renovate the shops.

Unfortunately, in the current climate, the popularity of Hebburn Helps is increasing on a daily basis and individuals and families struggle to cope financially and require support from places like food banks. In the past 12 months alone, they have helped to provide food, clothing, and emotional support to over 10,000 individuals. We at Mears, were only happy to help support their transition into their new premises and help take the worries away of not having the skills trades to help with the required works and the possibility of having to turn people away if they did not get help with the renovation.

What did you and the team actually do? 

Starting on the 10th October 2021 and now nearing completion, Dave, and his team of ten operatives have renovated and totally transformed the 3 shops. The main work has been related to plastering, as the buildings were quite dated, however, they have also tiled, painted, fitted new ceilings, doors, floors, and washing facilities.  

The 3 buildings are now complete and ready to be move into.  

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We have been supported on this project by our local supplier Wolseley 

What were the outcomes

This has been a huge success and one of the biggest projects the branch has ever done. Hebburn Helps will now be able to use their new premises, knowing that all 3 buildings are safe, clean, and habitable and can be happy in that they can continue to provide for, and serve, the local community on a much larger scale.  They can continue to work very closely with local schools and authorities to ensure food is available for the most vulnerable in the community, especially in times of uncertainty. The work we have done has forged a lasting partnership and means we can continue to support Hebburn Helps going forward with clothes and food donations. This is what we have helped come to fruition: -

The first shop is now an actual food bank shop, which is now open, where local residents can attend and collect food parcels.  

The second shop will be a youth centre, opening middle of next year, aimed at providing local teenagers a place to go where they are safe and well and socialise with others keeping them off the street and out of isolation. Mears can support here with employability workshops and use the links Hebburn Helps has with the local schools to widen our offer of support within those schools.

The third shop will be a charity shop, where any unwanted clothing/books etc will be re-sold to the public to help generate a small income to the charity.

The shops will have new signs, with the Mears logo proudly displayed on each one.

This project has shown, by the sheer willingness of Dave and our operatives volunteering to see this project through, what you can achieve and the impact it will have. They have all thoroughly enjoyed their journey and seeing the transformation achieved with their volunteering and sheer determination to bring this project to life. We have left a legacy by supporting this project and Mears will be talked about for many years to come.