A charity working with rough sleepers in Leeds has celebrated the contribution made by its volunteers and supporters.
Simon on the Streets hosted a party in their honour to show its gratitude to all those who fundraise, make donations and work alongside its staff.
General manager Gordon Laing said: “Simon on the Streets would not be in existence if it was not for our wonderful supporters and fantastic, often over worked, volunteers.
“We are a small, independent charity and we rely 100 per cent on our supporters for financial support and, just as importantly for the moral support and their help in spreading the message to try and remove the stigma attached to homelessness and rough sleeping.
“Our volunteers support us in all aspects of our work from outreach support through to IT, photography and storage. Without them, there would not be a Simon on the Streets.”
It was with this in mind that the charity chose to use the party as an opportunity to present its first Simon on the Streets volunteers and supports awards.
The recipients included ‘most enthusiastic volunteer’ Peter Haughton and consultant Tim Collins, who donates the difference to the charity whenever clients pay more than his suggested fee.
Sam Toolsie was presented with an ‘outstanding contribution’ award for the many ways she gives her time and skills, while David Stoneman received the ‘most innovative fundraising idea’ award after he broke a Guinness World Record for the fastest person to run the London Marathon in their pyjamas.
Also recognised during the evening was Manjit Kaur, who runs the award-winning Manjit’s Kitchen in Kirkgate Market.
The charity named her as the recipient of its ‘faith in humanity’ award after she turned a negative experience with a homeless person into a positive one.
As previously reported in the YEP, Manjit was abused by a homeless woman who threw boiling water in her face last year.
It prompted Manjit to find out more about the issues faced by rough sleepers in the city and to organise a charity raffle which raised nearly £6,000 for Simon on the Streets.
The supporters party also included an interactive quiz, raffle and live music from rock and blues band Snake Oil.
Donations from the quiz and raffle generated more than £300 which will go towards the charity’s work in Leeds, Huddersfield and Bradford.