Hunters’ Cash Boost kepps Lifeline alive

March 31st, 2015

Cheers! Lisa Preston (centre) and Steve McDonald (left) of Hunters join Mel King (right) and friends in celebrating Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s £5,000 donation to Tickle the Taste Buds.

An award-winning Teesside estate agent has marked its new support for a growing charitable movement by presenting a £5,000 cheque that has saved a Middlesbrough community hub from certain closure.

Hunters Teesside have agreed to donate 5% of their annual profits – and a minimum of £5,000 per year – to enable Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation to support local community groups and charities.

And they marked their generous gesture by presenting the Foundation’s £5,000 donation to the Tickle the Tastebuds group in Thorntree that acts as a lifeline for those in crisis.

The group’s co-leader Mel King said: “I actually cried when I heard the fantastic news that the Foundation was giving us the money we needed to stay up for another year.

“We were devastated at the thought of having to close because the group means so much to the people who utilise it. It is a lifeline.

“We’ve had women break down in tears because we’ve been able to give them a hamper for their family, while the group definitely saved the life of Lee, a local drug-user, who came to us when he was bleeding to death.”

Run from a base at The Christian Centre on Locksley Road, Tickle the Taste Buds is dedicated to feeding and helping people with issues ranging from homelessness and addictions to financial difficulties and loneliness.

“We initially started off aiming to feed the homeless of Middlesbrough but it has become so much more since then,” explained Mel, who runs the group with mum Wendy Brading, the scheme’s founder.

“We now help drug addicts, prostitutes, people with any sort of addiction, those living on the breadline and people who are lonely.

“We also work with other groups to provide hampers for people who are struggling on a more regular basis than the food banks can provide.

“We encourage them to support each other and create a better community spirit. We encourage self-respect and self-worth in order for them to gain confidence to sort out their troubles and eventually return to work.”

But the group’s big-hearted band of unpaid volunteers were devastated when The Christian Centre was threatened with closure when its owners, the Apostolic Church, announced they could no longer to afford to foot the bill to keep the base open.

“The church has always footed the bill to keep the centre open but were no longer able to do that. Thanks to the support of the Philanthropic Foundation, we’re now able to cover the costs and continue and even expand our work.”

“This group is everything to us. We joke about it sometimes, but I’m sure my mum will be here, helping people, till the day she dies.”

Lisa Preston of Hunters said: “As a proud local company, we’re thrilled to join forces with other amazing Teesside businesses to make a difference in our local community by helping wonderful schemes such as Tickle the Tastebuds.

“By donating 5% of our annual profits to the Philanthropic Foundation to support brilliant local causes, Hunters Teesside are sharing our success with the community.

“Becoming patrons of the Foundation is a perfect way to celebrate our recent award-winning successes to mark our continued progress on Teesside.”

Based in headquarters on Middlesbrough’s Linthorpe Road, Hunters Teesside recently beat 120 branches across the country to receive two national awards for Platinum Sales and Best Improved over the best 12 months.

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