Sam Fender named patron of charity North East Homeless

Image source, PA Media/Ian West
Image caption,
Sam Fender (third from left) said homelessness was a "massive problem"

Singer-songwriter Sam Fender has said he was "honoured" to help a charity "so close to my heart" as he was unveiled as the patron of North East Homeless.

The North Shields musician paid tribute to homeless charities while accepting his Brit award last month.

North East Homeless operates from a unit in Northumberland Street, North Shields, where it offers homeless people food, training and support.

Founders Brian and Emma Burridge said Fender had long championed their work.

Image source, Reuters/PETER CZIBORRA
Image caption,
Veteran Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood handed Sam Fender his Brit award in February

Mr Burridge said: "Even though he's now an internationally recognised artist, Sam has always kept his strong connections with the area.

"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. Sam has already been a huge help to us.

"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."

Image source, North East Homeless
Image caption,
The charity's new hub has opened in the Fish Quay

The Tyneside hitmaker has shared various updates about the charity on his social media channels, which Mr Burridge said "made all the difference to our success", adding it was 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," he said.

Fender 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."

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