A Newcastle civil and structural engineering firm is donating its Christmas party budget to support foodbanks in the North East.

RWO is sharing the £1,500 it would be putting aside for its 15 staff to have a festive bash with the Newcastle West End Foodbank.

The kind-hearted donation comes as the firm, which is based at offices in Newcastle and Leeds, recognises the difficulties some people will be facing this Christmas and winter, which will be especially hard for many struggling to cope with the added burden of the pandemic.

In the North East, thousands of emergency food parcels are collected and distributed annually by foodbanks to people in crisis over the festive period. Indeed, in October 2020, more than 1,200 parcels were given out by Newcastle West End Foodbank – approximately 50% of which went to families.

This December, the number of people visiting foodbanks is expected to be significantly higher as people struggle in the face of Covid. Ross Oakley, managing director of RWO, said: “It’s great to see everyone in the company support this initiative and I have received some very encouraging comments from our colleagues.

“The foodbanks are doing an outstanding job in campaigning to raise awareness of the issues and the need for support. By donating, we are delighted to be helping local people who are less fortunate than us, not just during winter but also in this awful pandemic.”