On the bill donations in restaurants helping the homeless in the North East

The charity which collects donations on the bills of diners of participating restaurants is encouraging more to sign up

Maurice Condie is the chief executive of Tyne Housing Association, whose subsidiary, Under the Bridge, gives out packs of equipment to homeless people, funded by Streetsmart
Maurice Condie is the chief executive of Tyne Housing Association, whose subsidiary, Under the Bridge, gives out packs of equipment to homeless people, funded by Streetsmart

Generous diners and restaurateurs in the North East are continuing to save and better the lives of homeless people in the region, thanks to the Streetsmart campaign.

Every year StreetSmart raises thousands for homeless charities all over the UK during November and December, and the North East has had an increasing number of restaurants and cafes putting their name to the cause in recent years.

There are currently 19 signed up in Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Durham.

The basic concept is that during the two months of the year where lots of people go out to celebrate the season of goodwill, an extra £1 is added to the bill at participating eateries and used to help people who are homeless in the region.

Since StreetSmart was established in 1998, the national charity has raised over £6.3m which has been given to more than 100 homeless charities.

One of these is the Tyne Housing Association, which provides supported housing and day services for vulnerable and isolated people in Newcastle.

The charity has been given around £18,000 by Streetsmart, since 2006. “It has been very, very helpful,” said Maurice Condie, the association’s chief executive.

“We use it to provide useful equipment for homeless people like sleeping bags, blankets, dried food and other practical things which can help.

“We spend around £2,500 on gear every year and I don’t think it would be overstating it to say these packs have saved lives over the years.” The equipment is distributed via the association’s charitable subsidiary,

Under the Bridge which manages all of its homelessness services, including the direct access hostel for 31 residents with 24 hour waking double staff cover and the Joseph Cowen Healthcare Centre, which provides health services to 700 homeless people each quarter.

“Under the Bridge just wouldn’t have the money to buy the packs they give out if it wasn’t for Streetsmart, and all the money goes on buying and delivering the goods to the people who need it - many of whom we are aware of because they use the medical centre.”

Last year, restaurants in the North East raised over £7,000 for local homeless charities including the Durham branch of national charity CentrePoint, which focuses on helping struggling young people; Aquila Way in Gateshead, which provides support and accommodation to young people and families; the DePaul Trust, which helps young, vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Newcastle; and the city’s People’s Kitchen, which offers ‘friendship and food’ and is entirely run by volunteers, all benefited from the generosity of those on both sides of the kitchen door, who signed up to Streetsmart.

For more information, visit www.streetsmart.org.uk

Restaurants and cafes in the North East participating in Streetsmart this year:

NEWCASTLE

Cafe 21, Queen Street, 0191 2220755

Blackfriars, Friars Street, 0191 261 5945

Dave Kennedy’s Food Social, Stoddart Street, 0191 260 5411

Gusto Bar and Restaurant, Newcastle Quayside, 0191 260 2291

Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond, 0191 212 3000

Paradiso, Market Lane, 0191 221 1240

Sky Apple Cafe, Heaton, 0191 209 2571

The Vermont Hotel, Castle Garth, 0191 233 1010

The Cherry Tree, Jesmond, 0191 239 9924

Cafe Bar One, Jesmond, 0191 281 9703

Cafe 1901, Jesmond, 0191 340 9774

DURHAM

Bistro 21, Durham, 0191 384 4354

The Rib Room, Ramside Hall, 0191 386 5282

NORTHUMBERLAND

Bouchon, Hexham, 01434 609 943

Dave Kennedy at Ballum Farm, Military Road 01434 672 406

NORTH TYNESIDE

Grapevine, Whitley Bay, 0191 251 3567

Eslington Villa Hotel, Low Fell, 0191 4876017

The Silk Room, Pandon Bank, 0191 260 3506

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer