HUNDREDS of vulnerable children living with their grandparents or carers are set to benefit from a six-figure donation to a North-East charity.

Almost 2,300 Teesside children are raised by family members – known as kinship carers – after their parents become unable to look after them through drug or alcohol abuse.

Up to 600 youngsters and their kinship carers being supported by the Grandparents Plus charity will be boosted by a £100,000 donation from the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation (MTPF).

Along with funding a part-time project worker, the donation will go towards the launch of a support group offering activities during school holidays in Hartlepool.

Karen Doherty, of Billingham, cares full-time for four of her 15 grandchildren – Taylor three, Lucy, six, Corey, ten, and Leah, 20.

Mrs Doherty, 57, who is supported by her husband Tommy, said: “Caring for four grandchildren full-time at my age isn’t easy, of course, but the kids are my priority and I’ll always put them first.

“Over the years I’ve had to give up two full-time jobs to look after the children, which is hard when you've already taken on a big mortgage, but there are many others in similarly difficult situations across Teesside.

“Grandparents Plus is a lifeline. They are there if you need them and it’s reassuring to know there’s always somebody with knowledge who is on your side.

“It’s great news that they’ve been given this money to do more good.”

Andy Preston, founder and chairman of MTPF, said: “This is by far our biggest ever donation but we know its impact will be felt right across Teesside among some of the most vulnerable families.”