One of the North East’s biggest musical success stories has announced his plans to put his support of a regional charity on an official footing, ahead of two sell out gigs on home ground next week.
Sam Fender will be playing at Newcastle’s Utilita Arena on April 5 and 6, as part of his current UK tour.
And the singer has revealed he has agreed to be patron of North Shields based North East Homeless, which he has already been a strong supporter of in recent years.
Brian Burridge, who set up the charity with his wife, Emma, said that Sam had been a real champion of their work, even giving them a shoutout as part of his acceptance speech at this year’s BRIT awards.
“Even though he’s now an internationally recognised artist, Sam has always kept his strong connections with the area,” said Brian.
“It started during lockdown when he couldn’t tour so he used to pop in here all the time, sometimes just sitting and playing the piano.
“We’ve always been a bit of a safe space for him and he just always pops in when he can.
“We are absolutely delighted that he’s agreed to be our patron.”
North East Homeless operates from a unit at Northumberland Street, North Shields where it offers a range of services for homeless people, including food, training and support.
The Fish Quay Hub is also open to the public who can use the event spaces and the café, which helps raise funds for their work.
“Sam has already been a huge help to us,” said Brian.
“He helped support our campaign to get councils to offer free helplines for vulnerable people in need of support rather than charge premium number prices.
“Him sharing this on his social media channels made all the difference to our success and it’s a massive boost to us to have him on our side.
“He may now be a globally recognised musician but he’s still a lad from North Shields who always remembers where he came from.”
The acclaimed musician said he was delighted to be on board.
“It’s an honour to help a charity that’s so close to my heart,” he said.
“Homelessness is a massive problem, North East Homeless help so many people to turn their lives around, families shouldn’t be struggling through no fault of their own.”
Further information about North East Homeless – which has also just unveiled plans for a huge revamp of its current facilities – is available at www.northeasthomeless.org.uk