Comedy club’s gigs help people in need

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An award-winning comedy club in Northumberland has turned its monthy stand-up comedy events into pop-up food banks to help people in need.

Punch-Drunk Comedy – which brings stand-up comedians to social clubs in south east Northumberland and was named ‘Best Large Comedy Venue in the North’ earlier in the year – are using the events to collect food, toiletries and household products.

Set up by Blyth brothers Gav and Kai Humphries, the club previously held gigs every now and then at Concordia Leisure Centre, then to a sell-out 350-person audience at the Newsham Side Club in Blyth.

The pair pledged to make this a regular occurrence, supporting Princess Ellie’s Trust with ten per cent of ticket revenue each time and bringing together the community through collaboration and mutual support.

Gaz said: “We have stayed true to our word, filling The Side Club every month since and creating an environment where positivity breeds positivity, with people coming together once a month to celebrate their community.

“As the more recently established Bedlington and Ashington gigs continue to grow month on month, they have become a monthly date in the calendar.”

At all three venues ten per cent of ticket revenue is donated directly to a partner charity and extra funds are raised on the night.

Collectively more than £10,000 has been raised since the turn of the year for Princess Ellie’s Trust of Blyth, Bradley’s Smile Trust of Bedlington, Nathan’s Needs of Ashington and John-Joseph’s Journey of Newbiggin; as well as The Chernobyl Orphan Group, Scotty’s Little Soldiers and The Sick Children’s Trust.

The team are now harnessing their following – affectionately dubbed the Punch-Drunk Army – to generate even more support for important causes in each of the towns.

“The latest development has been turning all of the gigs into pop-up food banks, a move which will continue as a regular fixture following its success when it was trialled in July and August,” added Gaz.

With each audience member bringing along an item for the collection, Punch-Drunk were able to make huge donations to three different food banks on the mornings following all three August gigs and they aim to donate even more after each September event.