A COMMUNITY hub which supported needy families when the pandemic hit has had its finances boosted by a North-East building society’s pledge to share its profits.

With the onset of the Covid crisis, staff at The Hub, in Barnard Castle, transformed the organisation from a community activity venue into the centre of a movement to support families across Teesdale.

Rachel Tweddle, chief executive of The Hub, said: “When Covid hit, straight away we could see that there was going to be a lot of support needed in the area for people who were facing a big reduction in their income.

“All our activities and events were suddenly cancelled, and our community café was closed, so we decided the best thing we could do would be to start putting together some sort of support package for families who needed help.”

The Hub is now the headquarters for an operation which has delivered more than 1,650 hampers containing food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies to around 150 struggling Teesdale households over the last year.

The charity’s work was boosted by Darlington Building Society, which has donated £2,920 towards the charity’s efforts – proceeds generated by its vow to donate 5 per cent of all profits to deserving community organisations.

“Like many organisations, we’re currently taking no revenue from events and people visiting, which means we’re completely dependant on funding,” Rachel said.

“That means Darlington Building Society’s generosity is massively appreciated – we couldn’t do this without funders like them. We want to say a big thank you to the whole Society for supporting us and our communities, and for having faith in the project.”

Darlington Building Society Chief Executive, Andrew Craddock said: “It’s inspiring to see how The Hub successfully adapted so quickly to provide a desperately needed service. Supporting causes like this in our communities has never been more important, and we’re proud to provide this financial help in such difficult times.”

Rachel added: “One of the most amazing things that’s happened in the last year is seeing how the community has responded.

“When we had to close our doors, we also lost most of our volunteers because many were older people who had to shield, along with people from the surrounding villages who could no longer travel to us.

“We appealed for new volunteers, and at first one or two signed up, but then suddenly it was ten, then 20, and before we knew it, we had 60 people involved!”

“It’s been so heartening how the community has got behind us. They’ve donated food, money, time, they’ve shared and supported the project – it’s amazing.

“It feels like everybody supports what we’re doing, and in a small town like Barnard Castle, that means everything to us.”