A NORTH EAST charity that supplies food to those in need has seen “a massive increase in demand” and “new faces” after the most recent price hike in energy bills.

The People’s Kitchen on Bath Lane in Newcastle provides three hot meals to vulnerable people five days a week.

However, after the most recent energy cap price increase and since reopening after the pandemic, it has been doing twice the number of meals it was doing before Covid.

Read more: Two fighter jets relocated to region ready to 'defend the UK at a moment's notice'


It has also seen an increase in demand for its new takeaway service, something Colin Herron, Team Leader at The People’s Kitchen, said was due to people taking it away for families and friends.

Mr Herron told The Northern Echo: “What we’ve seen is that the numbers that we serve a plate, those numbers have gone up without a doubt by about 30 per cent from the normal level, at the least.”

He also confirmed that the charity was also seeing a lot of “new faces” from “different walks of life”

He said: “We’re also seeing lots of new faces, there’s people who are working and then coming here for food, we know that.

“We’re getting, I would imagine different walks of life, we’ve seen a couple of people come in who have looked remarkably cleaner than what we would normally deal with, that’s not a scientific way.”

According to Mr Herron, one person he serves regularly, works out how much it will cost to use his microwave per-minute.

Read more: B-road closed due to ‘large sink hole’ as emergency services attend the scene

He said: “I’ve got one guy who is working out, per minute in the microwave, how much it will cost him to use - seriously.”


He stressed that the recent energy price cap increase has made the situation worse and has encountered a few customers who said “I have to eat here or I don’t eat.”

The Cost-of-Living crisis is also affecting the charity however, as Mr Herron confirmed that their gas and electric prices were “going through the roof.”

He added: “We’re cooking twice as much, and people come in here because it’s warm, and there’s showers which we provide.”

Things are only going to get worse, however, as October is set to bring further price hikes to the energy cap, something Mr Herron said will “leave many people in a difficult position.”

He said: “I know that, on a personal bases, my daughter and her husband, who both work, they’re reflecting heavily on the costs.

“They’re newly married, and they’ve just bought a house and they’re in a position of ‘oh crickey, it’s going to get tight.’”

Read more: North East fish and chip shops facing ‘biggest crisis’ they’ve ever experienced in price hike


“My personal situation is the same as  electricity and gas has just doubled, they’ve just doubled it, fortunately I can afford it, but it’s literally doubled.”

Mr Herron concluded that after the next price increase, many people will be brought down below the poverty line, “people who are working, bringing up children and had a standard of living that they’ve enjoyed for years.”

Today we launch Your Money Matters - our campaign to help you overcome the surge in the cost of living.

This year has seen a whole host of household price increases - from the energy price cap rise to surging inflation and food prices - costing your family hundreds or even thousands of pounds extra per year.

Here at The Northern Echo, we’re making it our mission to look out for your cash, offering money-saving deals, competitions, giveaways and insightful stories from your community on the impact this cost of living crisis is having on our readers like you.

Read more on our campaign and how we are trying to help:



Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054