Great Britain

Praise for Weardale dancer who helps the homeless

A SELFLESS little girl’s dedication to helping the homeless has been recognised with a police award.

Phoebe Hayes has been crowned Weardale’s latest young hero after she came up with an initiative to provide some comfort to homeless people in Newcastle.

The ten-year-old visits the city every Saturday for dance classes with her sister and became increasingly aware of the people in need on the streets. Phoebe’s dad was given some survival blankets that are normally used in the Armed Forces and the Wearhead Primary School pupil decided to put these to good use when she passed people on the streets.

As well as a blanket, Phoebe also provides biscuits and chats to each person to offer some comfort. The year six pupil has been carrying out the kind acts for a couple of years now and also has plans to start distributing toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The Northern Echo: Inspector Ed Turner hands Phoebe her awardInspector Ed Turner hands Phoebe her award

Phoebe's award was presented to her in a special assembly by Inspector Ed Turner and Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Gavin Robson of Crook Police.

There was a question and answer session about what makes a hero, before Phoebe was surprised to find out that she has won the award and a voucher.

Inspector Turner said: “It was great to present Phoebe with her award and recognise her for these acts of kindness which can often be overlooked.

“Our young people do incredible work to address some of the most difficult issues in society and we can always learn from them.”

Phoebe’s mum, Jane Hayes, who has been taking her daughters on the 84-mile round trip to dance every Saturday for the last five years said: “Phoebe was absolutely shocked but very pleased and we are all so proud of her.

"She sees homeless people just like she sees anyone else – there is no prejudice. We have about 20 pre-packed survival bags left but I think she will continue to help even after we have run out, she has plans to do much more – she’s full of ideas to help.”

Head teacher at Wearhead Primary School, Tim Hiley said: “The school is delighted for Phoebe and it sends an important message to support those in the community who are vulnerable. It is great that she has been recognised for what she does and we hope other students are inspired.”

The Young Heroes Award scheme is a Durham Police initiative aimed at children across County Durham. The scheme is designed to recognise young people who go above and beyond in their communities, whether that is helping the homeless, saving a life or helping out in the local community. Nominations are now open for the next Weardale Young Hero award. Nominees must be under 18 and live in the Weardale area. One award is presented every month and in the summer, the 12 young people and their families will be invited to a celebration event.

To nominate a young person, email PCSO Gavin Robson at [email protected] or call into your local police station.