PRUDHOE Town Council have agreed to pay £1,200 to a local church in order to support the provision of counselling for residents.

Vicar Daniel Freyhan of St Mary Magdalene Church requested the funding after the town council agreed to provide money to organisations combatting the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The money will be used to directly support vulnerable adult residents of Prudhoe whose mental health has been adversely affected by the pandemic, by funding professional counselling and online support to residents who come to the attention of the church as requiring support.

The grant was agreed by councillors at last week's meeting of the town council's Planning, Contracts and Works Committee.

Coun. Russ Grieg, who is a trustee at the Miners Lamp Community Hub, described some of the scenes he has witnessed during the crisis.

He said: "People need mental health support. I see people coming to our market and food bank in tears.

"I had a woman who gave birth prematurely because the bailiffs were at her door. She has nothing, and her husband had lost his job."

There was some debate as to whether the money should be given, as the town council do not usually support religious organisations financially.

However, Mayor of Prudhoe Tracy Gilmore said: "This is the only one that applied for funding. Something is better than nothing.

"We might as well help the people that are there to offer this. Nobody else has come forward.

"Even though it's a few sessions, they can point them in the right direction, which is probably the initial help they need. "

In the end, the funding was agreed by a vote.