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A Northumberland-based charity is celebrating as it is now able to offer hot food to members of the community for the first time, thanks to a helping hand from Northern Gas Networks (NGN).

The Hope Centre, on Forum Way in Cramlington, is a volunteer run community centre that provides a number of support services for residents in need including; a daily food bank; a lunch scheme providing packed lunches for children during the school holidays who normally receive free school meals; and a community school uniform scheme.

It is now able to offer hot meals to people thanks to pipe work installed by Northern Gas Networks, directly connecting the centre’s kitchen to a gas supply for the first time.

The work was carried out by Gas Safe registered engineers, as a gesture of goodwill and free of charge, in recognition of the important service being delivered by local volunteers.

The Hope Centre’s boiler room, located in an NHS building next door, was only accessible by appointment with the NHS. But following NGN’s work, the centre’s gas supply is now directly connected to a gas cooker through the installation of additional pipework, bypassing the boiler room.

Initially onsite for pre-planned works, the engineers used their initiative to adapt the original plans to best serve the centre, avoiding unnecessary works that would have involved digging up the entrance and taking pipework 100 metres around the building, while also removing the need for the Hope Centre to have access to the boiler room.

Joyce Docherty, Manager for the Hope Centre, said: “We rely on support from the local community and the help that NGN has provided is invaluable. Without their assistance, we wouldn’t be able to provide hot meals to those who most need it. With winter fast approaching, their work will be life changing.”

James O’Brien, Site Manager for Northern Gas Networks in North Tyne, said: “What the Hope Centre does for the community is phenomenal, so we are extremely proud to be able to help the volunteers. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a day’s hard work help the team to provide hot meals for the years ahead. With the works carried out free of charge, it means the centre can better prioritise its spend on important provisions that directly benefit local people.”

Alex Brightman, Customer Care Officer for Northern Gas Networks in North Tyne, added: “We are dedicated to the communities that we serve, and customers are always at the heart of what we do. Going above and beyond is what we do best and we are delighted to have helped the Hope Centre when the opportunity arose.”

For more information on the Hope Centre, simply visit: www.cramlingtoncofe.org/hopecentre