Cedarwood Trust launches The Nourish Store

Cedarwood Trust lies at the heart of the Meadowell community, and food is one of the principal themes of what they do. As part of the unveiling of their newly renovated centre, the Trust has launched The Nourish Store.

Nourish is a Community Membership Store​, which has been created to bridge the gap between standard supermarkets and food banks to offer a successful, quality shopping experience via a weekly membership system. It supports those on low incomes to reduce food costs, allowing people to better manage their other expenses as well tackling the environmental impact the food industry has on the planet with surplus food waste.

Members simply pay £4 a week to get at least £15 worth of shopping, which includes fresh fruit and vegetables, ambient, chilled, and frozen foods as well as toiletries and cleaning goods too. The store will offer members choice and an opportunity to contribute financially, removing any stigma associated with other initiatives, helping relieve persistent food poverty and enabling those on a low income to have access to a variety of food to ensure that single residents, couples and families can enjoy nutritious meals made with quality ingredients.

The store runs alongside existing services at the Cedarwood Trust, offering a fantastic provision that can benefit all those who access it. This enables those that use the store to access everything else offered by Cedarwood Trust. Services cover everything from debt advice to budgeting, family and pastoral support, training and volunteer opportunities and so much more.

The service is volunteer led, further enhancing people’s opportunity to support their own community, allowing for personal achievement and opportunities for individuals too.

Read more for FAQ’s and how to support this service.

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Pat: Good Neighbours Volunteer

Pat from Whitley Bay was in Spain with her husband and dog when the Coronavirus lockdown started to happen and they quickly made their way home. As soon as she returned, Pat started thinking of what she could do to help people in her local community most affected by the crisis.

Pat commented: “I was really keen to do something useful, like most of us, and researched volunteer groups on the internet. I immediately found VODA and the NHS volunteer responders’ scheme and applied for both.  Once the application process started with VODA, like all the other applicants, I became eager to do my first job.”

Since signing up, Pat has undertaken a number of roles for VODA’s COVID-19 Good Neighbours, including delivering shopping for a number of residents as well as an emergency prescription pick up. She has also become a regular shopper for one lady who is nearly 90. Pat is keen to keep this relationship going as the older lady has very little contact with anyone else and has begun to rely on the weekly contact with Pat for her food delivery but also for the weekly telephone call Pat makes to her, checking her food order to make sure she’s ordered enough food for herself for the week.

Reflecting on her experience of signing up as a volunteer with Good Neighbours Pat said: “Every member of staff from VODA has taken the actions the volunteers are doing so personally, it’s like we are doing this for them! In every email and conversation you all make me feel that you are personally grateful for everything I do – I feel so valued and appreciated – as if I am unique and special and doing a brilliant job.  I never expected to feel this from the staff as a volunteer. It’s been brilliant.”

As Pat had more time on her hands than was called upon by the volunteer groups, she decided to help the food banks that she’d heard were desperately in need of donations. Pat asked all her neighbours in the surrounding area of her home if they would like to get involved too, and they did, in a very generous way. She set up a donation bin on her drive and wrote to all her neighbours asking for donations of food to be placed in the bin and offered to collect any donations on Thursday evenings after the Clap for Carers at 8 pm for all those neighbours who couldn’t leave their homes. The neighbours left their donations on their driveways for Pat and husband Tony to collect.  For the last 3 weeks Pat and Tony have delivered car boot’s worth of food to the Bay Foodbank.  This is something they are planning to continue and now have another local street involved. As well as being able to support the food bank, Pat says her neighbours are grateful to be able to contribute to helping others during the pandemic, and it helps with their own wellbeing at the same time.

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New Happy to Chat scheme to launch in North Tyneside

VODA is working in collaboration with Whitley Bay Big Local and members of the SIGN Network, to develop ‘Happy to Chat’ schemes across North Tyneside to help reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Residents can sign up to be volunteers and will be given Happy to Chat badges to wear out in the community, so that anyone who feels isolated or lonely will know that they can approach them for a friendly chat. The Happy to Chat volunteers will be given a short information leaflet outlining key services available if they are concerned about the wellbeing of anyone they chat to. It’s about kindness, taking time to listen to others and making connections in the local community.

The aim is to extend the scheme further to identify cafes that may be willing to host a Happy to Chat table at a regular time or day, which would allow volunteers to sit at the table and be joined by someone who would like company and conversation.

There are two launch events coming up in North Shields and Whitley Bay and residents are encouraged to call in to find out more, have a cuppa and a chat pick up a Happy to Chat badge if they are happy to head out into the wider world to Chat Happily.

Working with the Beacon shopping centre in North Shields, Happy to Chat will host a fortnightly scheme in the space directly outside of the library in the shopping centre. They are holding a launch day on Tuesday 28 January 10am to 3pm and welcome anyone who is interested to pop along and have a chat. Going forward, this event will happen every other Tuesday, with the times to be decided based on the findings from the launch.

Whitley Bay Big Local is holding the Whitley Bay launch event on Thursday 30 January from 10am to 3pm at their community building, 158 Whitley Road and will be developing a weekly session going forward. The WBBL Community Building is an inclusive welcoming space and they are inviting everyone to call in on the day to find out more about Happy to Chat.

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BBC Radio Newcastle features Good Neighbours

We were delighted that the BBC Radio Newcastle Breakfast Show was able to join our Good Neighours shopping trip last week. They spent the morning chatting to our shoppers and volunteers to find out more about how this wonderful project helps to support people stay in their own home and keep their independence. You can listen to the feature from last week’s show below. If you would like to get involved, please contact us for more information.

Good Neighbours on BBC Radio Newcastle, 28.6.19 from Robin on Vimeo.

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New Pavillion and Queens Award for Collingwood Bowling Club

It was a double celebration for the North Shields bowling club this month – not only did their new and improved pavilion get its grand unveiling, but the club was also awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour given to community groups in the UK.

The members of Collingwood Bowling Club have transformed their site at Heaton Terrace over recent years, since taking over the lease of the park from North Tyneside Council. They have also expanded the club’s reach in to the community, involving women players and those of all ages and backgrounds, and is now a thriving club with first class facilities.

Earlier this year, members of the club were nominated for the Queen’s Award by North Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Business Forum and VODA and were surprised and delighted to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Club Treasurer Keith Armstrong said: “The transformation of our Club over the past five years has been just amazing. Our aim has always been to improve our facilities and reach out to the local community to encourage new members to enjoy bowling both socially and competitively. With the new extension to our pavilion and receiving a Queens Award, everyone should be very proud of our achievements. Our new facilities will enable our club to grow and prosper in the future. Thank you for all the vital support provided by our local sponsors, North Tyneside Council, VODA and all of our financial contributors in helping us to reach our goal.”

You can read about Collingwood Bowling Club’s journey in this specially-produced brochure here.

For more information about Collingwood Bowling Club visit their website.


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Good Neighbours volunteers visit Tynemouth Lifeboat Station

Volunteers from our Good Neighbours project recently enjoyed a visit to Tynemouth RNLI Lifeboat Station, to learn all about the local rescue service and its fascinating history.

The volunteers, who give up their time to support people in the North Tyneside community with small household jobs, basic DIY, shopping and running errands, usually meet monthly at VODA’s offices to discuss their roles, share experiences and receive training and support. But Ian Brigstock, who coordinates the Good Neighbours project, wanted to give something back to the volunteers themselves and get them out and about in the community. “Our volunteers really deserve some recognition and reward for what they do – they support some of the borough’s most vulnerable people with day-to-day tasks and that makes such a difference. Arranging this visit was just our way of saying ‘thank you.’  We’re really grateful to Tynemouth RNLI too for what was a fascinating visit and we’re looking forward to arranging similar visits over the coming months.”

Volunteer Debbie Wood said: “I really enjoyed going down to Tynemouth RNLI with a really nice group of people. We had a talk from one of the lifeboat volunteers about the work they do and the lives they safe. We also got to see the inshore and all-weather boat and try on the life jackets – there’s a picture of me wearing one!”

The Good Neighbours project is looking for more volunteers – this is a great, flexible volunteering opportunity to help people in your local community. Training and support are provided. Read more about the project here.

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