Leeds charity Homeless Street Angels to host first post-lockdown fundraiser as it faces shortage of vital supplies
A Leeds charity that provides a lifeline for rough sleepers and struggling families is hosting its first fundraising event in 18 months.
Homeless Street Angels, founded by sisters Shelley and Becky Joyce, has seen funding for its vital services plummet during the pandemic, leaving a shortage of supplies.
The charity used up the last of its sleeping bags during its weekly outreach project last Thursday, a concern for Shelley and Becky as the winter months draw in.
Now Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, Homeless Street Angels will host its first fundraising event on Saturday to draw in more donations and vital supplies to help those in need.
Angel Fest will offer a fun-filled day for families at Roundhay Golf Club, kicking off at 4pm, with a raffle, tombola, cake stall, sweet stall, BBQ, and a live DJ session from Shelley.
Roundhay's Setchfield Butchers will run the barbeque at the event, donating the food for free, while Oakwood's Tasty cafe has created a Homeless Street Angels burger - donating £1 from every sale to the charity.
Shelley told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "The local fundraisers are a good way to get the community involved, which we've been missing out on.
"The community have been so good over the last few years, so this event is to get the community together in a mini-festival - to have a big family party.
"We've lost a lot of money during the pandemic and every time we do an outreach every Thursday, the cost implications of everything we give out is about £1,400 every single week."
As well as its support for the homeless, demand for the charity's food bank has spiked over the last 18 months.
The number of families on its books has increased from eight to 128 during the pandemic, as more people turned to Homeless Street Angels for help.
"A lot of families are struggling because of Covid," Shelley added.
"Either because they've lost their jobs or been off work, or other people have separated because of the extreme pressure of isolating with their partners.
"The slight change with Universal Credit has meant that more people are struggling too. It's a huge range of things, but because of Covid, the demand has increased dramatically.
"And a lot of people are aware of what we do now - we've been working very closely with the other services and charities in Leeds.
"We've all joined together during Covid and helped each other."
Shelley and Becky are still working on their vision to open Abi's House, a community hub for Homeless Street Angels named after their late sister, who died in 2017.
The centre would provide mental health support, drug and alcohol counselling and life skills workshops, as well as a hub to drop off food donations, collect parcels and get help with housing.
Although plans are on hold for now due to the growing demand for the food bank, Shelley and Becky are holding out hope that they will raise the funds needed to bring their dream to life.
Shelley said: "We are so proud to be able to expand our services and be of assistance to so many people. This is what being a charity is all about."
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