TWO WORTHY causes have been given £3,000 each thanks to an award scheme to support crucial services and support.

Lakes and Dales Co-operative’s Community Connect award scheme has given the funds to Blyth Man Shed, in Northumberland, and Weardale Foodbank, based in Bishop Auckland.

Blyth Man Shed, which was established with the purpose of providing a workshop environment where like-minded men can create, build and socialise together, secured the funding after being shortlisted by the convenience retailer as one of three good causes across the North of England to receive financial support from a total pot of £9,000.

The funding will go towards enabling the charity to transform the yard space at the Man Shed into a garden area and will be used to purchase horticultural poly tunnels with tools and equipment that will allow the site to be used throughout the year.

Scott Galloway, Co-Founder of Blyth Man Shed, said: “Blyth Man Shed has been established to tackle the silent and growing epidemic centred on male mental health and well-being.

"We’ll do this by providing a small workshop and garden area where individuals who may be experiencing the effects of loneliness and isolation, can come and create, build and socialise with like-minded folk.

"The donation from Scotmid, which we are extremely grateful to the members for, allows us to move forward with our plans to transform the yard space into a gardening/nursery area.”

The Northern Echo: Blyth Man Shed, which offers a place for like-minded men to createBlyth Man Shed, which offers a place for like-minded men to create

Weardale Foodbank, which helps those who have fallen on hard times with food bags, essential hygiene items and support, has also received £3,000.

The funding will go towards the purchase a range of essential items as well as securing its weekly week walk in service at the local church hall, where people can seek advice, a cup of tea and a food bag.

Jo Hayes, Co-ordinator at Weardale Foodbank, said: “The award of Community Connect funding is a massive boost to our service and to those in the community who need to access the food and produces we have on offer.

"We can now plan for challenges in the future and think more about how we can help those locally who need support during hard times. Thank you to everyone at Scotmid!”

Since Community Connect launched in 2017, more than £450,000 has been awarded to 54 good cause groups across Scotland and the North of England, enabling key projects to come to life in local areas.

Harry Cairney, President of Lakes and Dales Co-op, said: “The pandemic has created numerous challenges for communities to overcome and adapt to.

"Community Connect was established to enable us to extend the ways in which we can support the communities that we serve, and we are delighted to provide Blyth Man Shed and Weardale Foodbank with this funding as they continue to provide vital support and social opportunities within their communities.”

In normal times, Scotmid would typically select a shortlist of community projects which its members then vote on to allocate different amounts of funding.

However, due to the pandemic, the Scotmid Board agreed that all shortlisted charities and community groups would receive equal amounts of funding within each region.