Charity shop saved from threat of closure

A charity shop has been saved from the threat of closure, thanks to a donation from staff at a north east firm.

Procter and Gamble’s employees’ charities fund has given £1,200 to Jonny Kennedy North East to cover the rates bill for its Whitley Bay charity shop for the coming year.

The donation will allow staff and volunteers at the Park Avenue shop to continue raising funds to support the 150 epidermolysis bullosa (EB) sufferers in the north east.

The charity, set up in memory of Alnwick’s Jonny Kennedy in 2007, now has only one charity shop left, having been forced to shut the other two following setbacks including thefts and break-ins.

Set up by trustee Eric Duffield and Jonny’s mum Edna, the charity has raised more than £60,000 to support sufferers of EB, a rare genetic skin disorder.

Eric said: “The donations come in pretty steadily – that’s not the problem.

“It is the business side of rents, rates and staff wages that we really struggle to pay.

“The generosity of businesses like P&G keep the shop running. Without them, we would be struggling to stay open.”

Colin Raistrick, treasurer of P&G’s employees’ charities fund for its North Shields, Seaton Delaval and Longbenton sites, said: “It is great to support a passionate group of people, who care so much about a specific set of vulnerable people living with a skin condition that means even the gentlest friction causes skin blisters.”

Employees at the company’s three north east sites make regular donations to the fund from their pay packets, and the company matches their contributions.