Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Book Icon

Tireless team keeping hunger at bay

National lockdown: Stay at home. You must not leave your home unless necessary. Find out what you can and cannot do.

A photo of staff at the White Feather Project

A team of tireless volunteers is bringing food and cheer to families across Middlesbrough.

The White Feather Project was set up during the first Covid lockdown last year, initially to help those in need in North Ormesby.

It's grown and grown, with a team of 11 now delivering vital care packs and much-needed support right across the town.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston called in to the charity's Kings Road headquarters to thank them for playing their part in his drive to make Middlesbrough a hunger-free town.

There he met Mark Horkan who got the ball rolling with Alan Chapman and Karen Beck last spring.

Towards the end of last year's first Covid-19 lockdown, Mark and Alan started delivering hot meals to pensioners, with an initial 13 clients rapidly growing to more than 120.

Father Pat at St Alphonsus stepped in the offer the church hall as a base for the rapidly expanding operation, and the charity now has three community food hubs including one on Kings Road. 

The White Feather Project's food deliveries have grown from 60 a day to well over 100 since joining forces with Middlesbrough Council.

Each pack contains a week's shopping for a single person, couple or family, and the project also provides refurbished cots, prams and baby items as well as nappies and baby food for new mums.

The team supplies care packs to safeguarding services for victims of domestic violence, while over Christmas more than 460 Christmas hampers were delivered, along with a Christmas present for every child.

And for a special birthday treat, presents are delivered by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Peppa Pig.

And the support can be truly life-changing - one recent client was a woman who had been trafficked to Middlesbrough, and was in desperate need of support.

Mark Horkan said: "The Mayor wants to make Middlesbrough a hunger-free town and that's something we're committed to 100%.

"Sadly however people are still falling through the net and there's a massive need for us right now.

"It's been absolutely amazing - we've even had Sir Cliff Richard talking to us on Zoom a couple of months ago - he'd heard about us and was over the moon with what we were doing

"We're truly proud to be able to do this in partnership with other local organisations, and play our part in bringing the community together."

Mayor Preston said: "It's sadly all too easy for people to slip through the cracks when normal life is turned upside-down by a pandemic.

"The Council is there to help, but we can only do it with support from amazing charities like the White Feather Project which really do change lives.

"They're the ones who get out into our communities and provide a safety net for those in need.

"This is what true Middlesbrough spirit is all about - I couldn't be more proud of them."

For more information on the White Feather Project, to volunteer or make a donation visit the White Feather Project website or call 07552 830185.