Gentoo and ENGIE team up to support Sunderland young people

We're proud to have partnered with leading energy, regeneration and services specialist, ENGIE, to help alleviate “holiday hunger” with food donations plus volunteering time to put on activities for the local community, over the June half-term break.

Colleagues from both organisations worked with volunteers at Sunderland’s Pennywell Community Centre to offer children and young people nutrious meals and fun cooking classes over the half-term holiday (1 – 4 June).

200 attendees over the four days were given freshly-cooked meals and took part in fun workshops where they learned about the importance of food hygiene, creating cost-effective healthy dishes and learning key life cookery skills to help them become more independent and boost their self-confidence.

In addition to the food workshops, we worked in partnership with the North East young people’s mental health charity Mindstars, to create COVID time capsules. The capsules encourage participants to recall their memories of the last year – what they liked and disliked, and their own emotions reflecting on the experience – which were then buried in the community centre’s garden.

The garden was the centre of another activity too, as the kids got the chance to support the centre’s volunteers in transforming part of the garden into a wildflower meadow – supporting the natural environment, and learning more about sustainable wildlife.

Diane Carney, Director of Property at Gentoo Group, said: “School holidays can bring additional stress to families and children so we’re delighted to work with Engie to support local families and residents throughout the June half-term.

“As an organisation we’re committed to having a positive impact on our local communities and it’s brilliant that we can use our ongoing investment into our properties and neighbourhoods to volunteer with local community organisations such as Pennywell Community Centre and deliver vital support for those who need it most.”

lan Maskell, Refurbishment Director at ENGIE, said: “As well as improving homes in the areas ENGIE works in, we are committed to supporting the wider community and making sure residents can have an improved quality of life.

“The work ENGIE’s Resident Liaison Team, and Gentoo’s Customer Liaison Team, has done during the half-term break in Sunderland has been nothing short of fantastic. In addition to volunteering their own time to support activities, the feedback we’ve had from the parents, children and young people who attended the sessions has been full of praise for everything that’s been on offer and the positive impact it has had on them.

“We were delighted to work alongside Gentoo and the volunteers at the Pennywell Community Centre to support young people across the area.”