Shop for less, reduce food waste, get advice & support, build connections…

All aboard our Key Community Bus!

2 December 2020

Spread a whole lotta local love with KEY this Christmas!

Local youth homeless charity KEY Project, who in partnership with Churches Together South Tyneside also run the KEY2Life Food Bank, have Christmas all wrapped up for those looking to spread some local love this festive season.

Whether you are looking to bring some festive cheer to individuals and local families struggling to put food on the table this Christmas, or to ensure a safe home for a homeless young person in South Tyneside, KEY has a gift option for you.

The charity kicked off the festive period with the launch of its KEY2Life Food Bank’s Christmas Hamper Appeal which runs over the 5 weeks leading up to Christmas.

Each week participants are asked to purchase a specific item from the hamper wish-list, revealed at the beginning of each week on the KEY2Life Facebook page , along with their weekly shop. Completed hampers must be returned to the food bank by Friday 18 December to be distributed to those most in need before Christmas Day.

The scheme was the brainwave of big-hearted local lass, Melissa Smith, one of KEY2Life’s Top Facebook Followers, who wanted to make sure that some of the most disadvantaged in our community enjoy some festive cheer and know that someone is thinking about them this Christmas.

The full hamper wish-list is published on KEY’s website in its entirety, so there is still time to take part if you would like to do so. For more information, visit .

If you are looking to give a meaningful gift to your loved ones this Christmas, and want to share that warm fuzzy feeling you get from supporting a great local cause, close to your heart, how about a KEY print at home paper gift card ordered online via the charity’s website?

In a nutshell, this is a donation that you make to KEY in lieu of buying your loved one a gift, though you do receive a physical print-at-home gift card (by email, or which you can collect from the charity) to personalise and deliver to your recipient ahead of Christmas Day.

You can choose to support KEY2Life Food Bank with a ‘Food for a Neighbour in Need’ gift card’, your donation will help provide an emergency food parcel, or hamper of family essentials, to someone struggling to put food on the table this Christmas; or, alternatively, you can choose to support young people in South Tyneside, at risk of homelessness or hardship, with a KEY Project ‘Safe home for a Young Person’ gift card.

What better way to share a small – or large – act of kindness during the season of goodwill which will enable the charity to continue its vital work supporting some of the most vulnerable in South Tyneside. Last chance to order to ensure Christmas delivery is Friday 18 December. For more information, visit

Kind-hearted staff and pupils from several local schools are also getting onboard to help the charity channel plenty of Christmas cheer this year: St Oswald’s RC Primary School are collecting Christmas gifts for young people resident in KEY’s supported accommodation properties; Mortimer Community College are supporting Key2Life Food Bank with a reverse advent calendar; East Boldon Infants are hosting (another!) food collection; and St Wilfrid’s RC College will be supporting the food bank too.

Jo Benham Brown, KEY’s Business and Community Development Manager, said:

“Christmas is an especially difficult time for all those KEY supports, but this year more than ever. The fallout of the pandemic has been to exacerbate the main causes of youth homelessness, namely family relationship breakdown, economic uncertainty, and mental health, while over the last few months, KEY2Life food bank referrals have increased 300% on the same period last year and we are now regularly feeding more than 1,000 people in South Tyneside every month.”

“We want to show those we help that they are not forgotten this Christmas-time, and there’s no shortage of ways to get involved for anyone out there who wants to help. We have been so overwhelmed by the generosity of our community already this year, which just proves the adage that it feels good to do good, so please if you can, spare a thought for someone in need close to home this Christmas.”