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Our Story

About Us.

Our story

Our mission is to seek to offer high quality and relevant services for existing and new clients (our Friends) – 46% of whom have no friends or family to support them – and to develop and deepen those services to help move people towards independent living. Our ‘Your Futures’ programme aims to go one step further, working in conjunction with other welfare agencies for our service users’ benefit and to signpost client services available from other providers.

Recent developments at The People’s Kitchen include the refurbishment of the Alison Centre which included the re-decoration and the development of communal spaces; the establishment of an dedicated clothing warehouse and a brand new off-site food warehouse.

In 2013, The People’s Kitchen was presented with a commemorative award by our patron, Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland, to mark 25 years of service.

The People's Kitchen DVD

Our founder

Thanks to one woman’s principles and determination, The People’s Kitchen has been supporting the homeless and disadvantaged in the Newcastle area since 1985.

Spurred on by an article in the Evening Chronicle about the death of a homeless man, Alison Kay (then in her 70s) decided to set up an organisation to support those in need. Within a year, Alison had 40 helpers and they inaugurated the first People’s Kitchen next to the railway arches by Dean Street offering food, clothes, a warm fire and welcome to anyone who came in peace.

The work was made possible through the generous support of volunteers and sponsors recruited by Alison and over thirty years later the tradition continues even though the organisation has grown significantly. For her work, Alison received an Honorary Degree from Newcastle University in 1997.

Alison Kay died in 2001 aged 91, but inspired by her example, The Peoples’ Kitchen remains true to its principles over thirty years later providing “friendship and food” to anyone who needs our support.

Our Trustees

Bob Eldridge

Bob is chair of the board of trustees and has 28 years’ experience volunteering with The People’s Kitchen. Bob brings a wealth of professional and commercial experience for his career as an international retail consultant, advising European retailers and brand owners on developing revenue streams and industry best practice.

Dr Peter Samuel
Vice Chairperson

Peter has volunteered at The People’s Kitchen for five years and has been a Trustee for two years. He has been Deputy Chairman of the Board for 12 months. Peter is a retired surgeon and very well-placed to oversee many welfare activities for our Friends, including being team leader for our allotment project.

Doug Kinsey

Doug is a qualified chartered accountant with his own practice in the city, specialising in working with SMEs. He was appointed treasurer in November 2013 and has been a volunteer at The People’s Kitchen for two years.

Bill Naylor
Building Services

Bill has been a volunteer at People’s Kitchen since 2013, and was appointed as a Trustee in 2015. Bill works on the Wednesday evening service team, but has specific responsibility for the Charity’s buildings and facilities, having been a Chartered Surveyor for almost forty years.

Beryl Wood
Operations (Outreach)

Beryl has volunteered with The People’s Kitchen for over two decades and has recently won ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award for her contribution to the community via her work with us. Beryl’s experience means she has tremendous insight into our Friends and their needs. She has strong relationships with clients and fellow volunteers alike, and she shares responsibility for day-to-day operations with Marion Bayfield.

Marion Bayfield
Operations (Clothing / Team Leader)

Marion has volunteered with The People’s Kitchen for many years. She volunteers on a Tuesday and Thursday preparing meals for the evening session, and coordinates our clothing operations. She also supports the smooth running of The People’s Kitchen, sharing responsibility for day-to-day operations with Beryl Wood.

Dean Auld
Recruitment and HR

Dean joined The People’s Kitchen as a volunteer in 2015, working the Tuesday evening session. Dean is also responsible for managing the Charity’s recruitment and human resources team, having undertaken a similar role with a local firm of solicitors for many years. Dean became a Trustee in 2016.

David Yellowley
Legal Affairs

David is company secretary and Trustee for legal affairs, he also assists on events and our Sunday morning outreach ‘breakfast run. His day job is International Development, working across Whitehall and overseas to help developing countries strengthen their administrations.

President and Patrons

The People’s Kitchen President is Joe Collins Hon. and our Patrons are Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland, the Rt Rev. Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle and the Right Rev. Seamus Cunningham, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.

Our accountants are UNW and our legal advisors are Muckle LLP.

Company No: 2808912 / Registered Charity 1036149

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