Hunter Hands of Hope ceases service in response to COVID-19 protection measures

HEAVY HEARTS: Hunter Hands of Hope has closed until further notice. Volunteers are pictured at their final dinner service on Sunday night.

HEAVY HEARTS: Hunter Hands of Hope has closed until further notice. Volunteers are pictured at their final dinner service on Sunday night.

Cessnock homelessness support service Hunter Hands of Hope has closed until further notice in response to the COVID-19 protection measures.

The volunteer-run charity served food to homeless and vulnerable people from a cottage at the Cessnock tennis courts five nights a week.

Hunter Hands of Hope president Melissa Gontier said it was a heartbreaking decision to close the service, which serves up to 40 people a night.

"Our volunteers are health workers and teachers; we need to protect ourselves, our clients and the people we work with - social distancing is what we ultimately had to take into consideration," she said.

"Our clients are devastated, and we are devastated that we can not continue to provide our much-needed service in Cessnock.

"We will be back as soon as we can."