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Action and Outreach

A fitting memorial for Gladys McCullough


Following the death of Gladys McCullough earlier this year, it was decided by the Trustees of Mothers’ Union to make a special donation of £500 to be spent on items which had been requested by the People’s Kitchen,as a fitting memorial for her. Gladys had long been an enthusiastic supporter of the work of the kitchen.

Marylyn, the manager at the kitchen, requested sleeping bags for the winter so Dorothy Henderson, our treasurer, and I went to GO Outdoors to buy them.We had been advised to use this store because they have an arrangement with the Peoples Kitchen to store the sleeping bags on their premises until they are needed for the homeless.  This is ideal because the kitchen has very little storage space. What we didn’t know until we got there was that the store gives the People’s Kitchen a special discount. We were therefore able to buy sleeping bags priced a t£39.99 (or £29.99 for discount card holders) for £17.50 each.  This means the Mothers’Union has been able to buy 28 sleeping bags for the homeless people who use the People’s Kitchen. So thank you to Go Outdoors for their wonderful discount and thanks also to Mothers’ Union members for your continuing support.

Mothers’ Union has now got its own discount card in case we want to buy things for other projects.

Linda Benneworth.



Every month about three men are discharged from ‘the Departure Lounge’ at Acklington prison without a family to receive them.  They may go to a hostel, or may even land up on the street.  They often leave with nothing but the clothes they were wearing on entry.  Can we help them by providing a small backpack containing toiletries (including a small towel and disposable razor), together with the kind of things we put in the shoe boxes, including a change of underwear and socks?  If so, please contact me or bring them to Council on 31st March.  I can source nice inexpensive backpacks if needed. 

Look out in the next Journal for much more about this, and about other ways in which we can help prisoners.


Bags for Cumberland House

Dear Angela,


On behalf of the women in the Changing Lives project  I would like to thank you and your members for the beautiful   Christmas gifts which you donated.    I took them to the house just before Christmas and the managers were “over the moon “with them. They said that for some women this would be the only surprise present they would get, something especially for them.

 You obviously spent a lot of time, thought  and effort in assembling the  bags and as far as the women were concerned it certainly was well worth it.

Thank you and God bless,


Making Jewellery with women at from Changing Lives

The women who stay at  the Changing Lives project have diverse and complex problems in their lives.With the help of Mothers’ Union, we have provided three jewellery making sessions for the residents to give them support in a practical way through doing something that they can enjoy. Sue Croome led the sessions and encouraged and helped those attending to make a bracelet, earrings and on the third week an additional piece as a gift for someone for Christmas. Jewellery making is very therapeutic and there is a huge sense of achievement wearing something truly unique which you have made. The women seemed to really enjoy it and have asked that we provide more sessions in the spring.  The thank you notes included comments such as:

“It was a pleasure to have attended the course”  “. I found it fun and educational.”

In addition, donations from Mothers’ Union have enabled the staff to buy pyjamas or a nightie for each woman living at the project. St Peter’s Monkseaton Branch  even bought bags of toiletries and treats for them too. Their kindness will help make this Christmas a nicer one for the residents than they might otherwise have had.


A trip on the North Pole express at Tanfield Steam railway with families from changing Lives and “Wor Bairns”.

Families from Changing Lives had requested a trip on the North Pole express this year rather than a pamper day for the ladies only. Personal problems close to the day meant that some families were unable to attend. Rather than waste the spaces, on the day before we were due to go, we invited several mums and children from “Wor Bairns”, a project operating on the Meadowell estate in North Shields.  The surprise element added to the excitement of the children, some of whom were jumping up and down as we queued for the special bus which took us directly to the steam railway at Tanfield.  As we entered the waiting room,each child was given a special passport to the North Pole. This was their ticket enabling them to meet Santa Claus. Elves and fairies then escorted the group to the train which took us to “The North Pole”.  When their passports had been stamped the children and parents were taken through Santa’s workshop to meet Santa. Here each child was given a beautifully wrapped present.  Families were then taken into the café where they could enjoy complimentary refreshments before the train to take them back to Tanfield station.As the weather was cold these hot refreshments were most welcome.

It was wonderful that, through the generosity of Mothers’ Union members, the groups were able to enjoy a very special day out, meet Santa Claus, receive a gift from an elf  and relax with friends.  I also enjoyed meeting Santa for the first time in many years.

Linda Benneworth.



Underneath the arches with the People’s Kitchen, December 2017.

The People’s Kitchen Christmas party was as usual held under the arches on Trafalgar Street near the old Manors station on one of the coldest and frostiest nights of the winter. At 10pm Santa distributes the shoe boxes, donated generously by the members of Mother’s Union, from the back of a white van. This may be not as picturesque as a sleigh but the gifts are really welcomed by the homeless of Newcastle. Before then there is a wonderful street party. When President Barbara and I walked from the Metro station at Manors down a very slippery slope we could hear the music coming from the band and soon we saw the welcoming high visibility jackets of the many volunteers who were helping.

Hot food and cakes were provided along with cups of tea all free of charge to the many homeless party goers who had also braved the cold. They also had the opportunity to win a food hamper in the free raffle for which the prize tickets were drawn by the Mayor of Gateshead.  There was dancing and singing and we managed to chat to the Peoples Kitchen chaplain Pat Craighead. We enjoyed singing Christmas carols and the “Twelve days of Christmas “. The pantomime atmosphere was enhanced by the colour marking of our place in the words on the overhead projector screen.  And by the fact that we were singing alongside a giant chicken called Davy.

As we left we couldn’t help but think that as we returned to our warm homes, many at the party were homeless and would not be able to do so.



 Linda Benneworth , A and O coordinator. December 2107


Visiting“Walking With”in Wallsend, Christmas 2017

It was lunchtime when we arrived at “Walking With” In Wallsend. People were milling around excitedly as the volunteers began to serve the lunch. Margaret Crawforth and I chatted with the volunteers and those who were about to have lunch. Staff said how grateful they were for the twenty four shoe boxes which were generously donated by MU members. We managed to give out two before everyone sat down for lunch.

Mother’s Union had also donated £50 through the North Tyneside Council special fund to help pay for the food, which smelt very appetising; those I spoke to said it was delicious. Linda Benneworth


 To North Tyneside Council - On behalf of the Newcastle Diocese of the Mothers’ Union I would like to thank you for your award of a grant of £425. This allowed a group of fortynine refugees from “Walking With” based at St. Luke’s Church Wallsend to have a very enjoyable half term outing to the “Jam Jar “cinema.