Northumbria University student pledges to help others while studying for her degree


Courtney Smith at the People’s Kitchen

Submitted by Keith Newman

Courtney Smith, a psychology student at Northumbria University, recently started volunteering for The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle and she is already putting her academic theory into practice.

Courtney of Chester-le-Street studies forensic psychology, and much of her class focuses on human behavior and mental health issues. With mental health being a major issue for many homeless and vulnerable people, her education helps her to help others.

Courtney said: “Studying how the brain works and how people behave has helped me understand certain situations I encounter and it has also helped me listen to those who may just want to talk to someone.”

“My friends think it’s unusual for me to help out when a lot of them have other hobbies, but I get a lot of satisfaction from helping others and making a difference in the lives of a lot of people. . “

Courtney holds a position at The Kitchen on the Wellness Team where she liaises with local councils to help place vulnerable people in safe accommodation.

She also spends a lot of time listening and helping by distributing essential clothes and sleeping bags to those in need.

Administrator Jackie Boardman was delighted that Courtney volunteered her time:
“We provide up to 300 meals a day and we couldn’t do it without the help of volunteers like Courtney.

“Volunteers have supported our ‘friends’ for over 35 years and we are run entirely by volunteers, no government funding is received and no one is paid for their work.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to have young people who are actively and caring about their community, especially around Christmas time.

The People’s Kitchen began providing work placement opportunities for a range of North East undergraduates to gain hands-on experience. In addition to Courtney, they hosted other students from the universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Sunderland studying psychology, medicine, food and nutrition.

The People’s Kitchen has launched its annual ‘Feed a Friend for a Five’ campaign and is appealing to locals to donate £ 5 which will go to someone in need having a hot meal of three courses during winter and festive periods.

Donations can be made at The People’s Kitchen website click.

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