Meet the Leeds Homeless Street Angels who tirelessly help people in need
The aptly named Street Angels Becky and Shelley Joyce are twin sisters who work tirelessly to help homeless and needy people in Leeds.
They provide hot, tasty meals and fill rucksacks with useful items desperately needed by people living on the streets.
They want to make tough conditions a little easier and as winter approaches, are appealing to the people of Leeds and businesses to help with donations.
They are known as the Homeless Street Angels and even have the backing of TV Apprentice boss Sir Alan Sugar.
The sisters, from Leeds, who both have their own cleaning businesses and busy lives, make time to collect and make more than 100 hot meals which they give out in Leeds city centre each Thursday night, handing them out to a queue of people down by the market.
They also give out blankets, boxer shorts and toiletries, some donated by Leeds businesses.
They are now launching their winter appeal where they fill 100 rucksacks with useful items for anyone living on the streets.
Becky said: “Every Thursday night we go into Headingley and city centre Leeds and give out 100 hot meals. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of restaurants like Franco Manca Pizza and Shababs Indian, who make us biriyani, we are able to provide hot food. The people who come and queue for it love it, it is so nice for them to have something hot which tastes nice.
"Our eventual aim is to open a day centre called Abi House in memory of our other sister Abi, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 39."
The centre would provide mental health support, drug and alcohol counselling and life skills workshops.
In February Sir Alan Sugar praised the group’s work with rough sleepers and urged his Twitter followers to donate to their cause.
Becky added: “We believe that homeless and marginalised individuals are capable of change and will only achieve their full potential when offered a safe, supportive, empowering and non-judgemental environment – it is our vision to provide such an environment and meaningful activities which will help reverse the spiral of homelessness.”
They work with Leeds City Council and Housing Options to re-house people off the streets and are part of the Leeds Homeless Charter to help eradicate homelessness in Leeds.
“We have helped to house more than 20 people and it is great to see that happen. We cannot keep up with the demand for clean boxer shorts every week and underwear for women, as there are more women than ever before now on the streets. We know of about 20 in Leeds alone,” says Becky.
“I have kids of my own but I lie awake at night worrying about the 80 homeless people we help and I worry about them. I worry if they are ok or what might be happening to them."Once re-housed, they continue to provide ongoing support to people by providing food parcels and any additional help they may require."
The sisters, who are 45, hold fundraising events every quarter to help raise awareness and funds to help contribute to what we provide.
“Our next appeal is the Christmas Sack appeal. We are now appealing and collecting items, so would say to people please help if you can.
Homeless Street Angels Winter Christmas Sack Appeal
The Joyce sisters need to provide around 50 pairs of boxer shorts each week to give out to homeless men, plus underwear for women.
Becky explains: “It is difficult as homeless people have nowhere to wash and dry their clothes or underwear so it is easier to throw it away. It is good to be new but clean washed second hand underwear will be fine.”
“We really need things like boxer shorts, socks, underwear, toiletries like deodorant toothpaste and wipes.”
The Homeless Street Angels, is a not for profit organisation, which is soon hoping to become a registered charity, which will help with funding and support.
For their winter appeal they get everything ready and on the 29 November 6pm-9pm at the Lord Darcy Pub, on Harrogate Road, in Moortown where they meet volunteers and helpers from across the city to fill the rucksacks and wrap presents for people on the streets to open on Christmas day.
“There is normally a good attendance and media presence, we also have our Facebook page, website, twitter and Instagram to let people know.
Shelley added: “We are desperate for donations and any volunteer help with both adults and children. Please get in touch for your nearest drop-off points and download our volunteer pack if you want to join us.”
They also need raffle prizes, which will encourage people to buy raffle tickets.
Items can be dropped at Gotts Park Cafe, at Armley Ridge Road and at beauty salon LipS6 in Meanwood.
For more details or to support the cause, visit the sisters’ website at www.homelessstreetangels.co.uk