Idris Elba and wife Sabrina give Leeds homeless charity work couple a 'lovely shock'
A Leeds couple who run a charity for homeless people in Leeds had a 'lovely shock' when actor Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina sent them a video message thanking them for their voluntary work.
The Wire and Luther star Idris said he and Sabrina were inspired by Alwoodley couple Aky and Tina Suryavansi and wanted to celebrate the work they do with Homeless Hampers in Leeds.
Idris and Sabrina have started a company called S'able Labs, which they say is focused on celebrating shared experience between two partners in life or business.
They launched a nationwide hunt to find four hero excouples as part of the launch.
Aky and Tina's volunteer work has been featured in the YEP in print and online and Idris and Sabrina read their story and got in touch with them.
The celebrity couple told Aky and Sabrina their photo would be featured on a billboard in London to celebrate their work with Homeless Hampers.
Idris said in the video: "We admire you, we admire the work that you have done as a husband and wife team and partnership in building Homeless Hampers and all the dedication to the cause of helping homelessness. We want to take a minute to celebrate you."
Aky said the billboard was on display at Seven Sisters tube station in London for two weeks.
He said: "The fact that Idris and Sabrina have sent us a video message mentioning our names was a shock to the system.
"We don't do what we do for recognition, we do it from the heart.
"To get that recognition from such a high profile person was just absolutely unbelievable. It was a lovely shock. It is nice to be recognised by people out there."
Jamier Oliver has interviewed Aky and Tina for an upcoming edition of BBC One's The One Show
Aky and Tina have both donated kidneys to their son and started volunteering at Homeless Hampers in 2016 because they wanted to “give something back to society”.
The couple said they were so grateful after both were able to give the gift of life to Akash, who was born prematurely with serious kidney problems.
The couple, of Alwoodley, soon took over running Homeless Hampers, which has grown to meet demand.
Aky and Tina now spend the majority of their free time helping feed homeless people in Leeds city centre.
Akash, 23, and his twin sister Dinish have always been involved in helping prepare food parcels and meals for homeless people on the streets and in homeless shelters.
The charity feeds hundreds of people per week and also helps vulnerable families.
The couple went to extreme lengths to keep Akash safe from Covid and he is continuing to shield, despite having had both his Covid jabs.
Mum Tina, 52, who works as a senior medical rota coordinator in A&E departments at Leeds hospitals, moved out of the family home for 10 months to eliminate the risk of passing on Covid.
Akash’s twin sister, Dinish, moved in with her, leaving Akash with father Aky, 54, at the family’s home in Weetwood.
The family reunited before Christmas after renting a bigger, five-bedroom house with a separate bathroom for Akash in nearby Alwoodley.
Akash’s kidneys had not formed properly when he was born prematurely in June 1998 and at just a few weeks old he was on dialysis.
Tina donated one of her kidneys to Akash in 2004 when he was aged six.
The kidney started deteriorating in 2015, and in October of that year Akash suffered a double brain haemorrhage, affecting the mobility of his right side and his speech. Aky underwent surgery to donate a kidney to his son in November 2015.
As well as his kidney problems, Akash also has a heart murmur and suffers from diabetes.
Aky said there were only a handful of volunteers when the couple started helping out Homeless Hampers in 2016.
Now there are just under 500 volunteers registered with the charity.
For more information, go to www.homelesshampers.co.uk