Weekly Community Roundup- 14th January 2022

Andy takes to the streets of Leeds to feed and clothe homeless trembling in the cold

Andy Gardiner, Funeral Director at Wm Dodgson & Son Funeral Directors, Moortown, spent his Friday night helping feed and clothe Leeds’ homeless population after being overwhelmed with donations from the local community.

He was shocked to see wheelchair users and couples with babies among those trembling in the cold as he handed out food, clothes and toiletries in the city centre with volunteers from Feed Leeds Homeless Project.

He said: “It’s saddening but not surprising to learn that throughout the UK, homeless numbers have risen since the government extended the retirement age to 67.

“Kids leave schools to fewer opportunities and it’s a vicious cycle. If you don’t have a job, you cannot afford a home. And if you don’t have a fixed abode, it’s nearly impossible to gain employment.”

Andy was inspired to help rough sleepers by his wife, Janice, who previously worked night shifts at St Anne’s Resource Centre and had only good things to say about supporting such a noble cause.

Andy discovered Feed Leeds Homeless Project online and was taken by how people from a variety of backgrounds combined their skills to support homeless people around Leeds.

He said: “One person makes hot rice-based meals while Magda, the Coordinator of Feed Leeds Homeless Project, makes vegetable soups, flasks of coffee and stacks of baguette sandwiches.”

As a funeral director under the respected Wm Dodgson & Son name, Andy was able to use his extensive connections with local families to encourage donations of jackets, jeans, socks, gloves, scarves, hats, blankets and more for the initiative, as well as from his friends and family.

He said: “Some people delivered directly to my home or the funeral home while I arranged to collect from others. I was truly humbled by everyone’s generosity as well as the quality of the donations, it was an amazing response.”

Janice got in touch with her colleague Beverley Kenny, Deputy Director of Catering at the University of Leeds, who also arranged a large delivery of biscuits, tea, tinned vegetables, juices, toilet rolls, plastic cutlery and more.

About 15 Feed Leeds Homeless Project volunteers met up at Leeds Market and spent Friday night handing out the large number of donated items gathered by Andy and others around the city centre.

Andy described: “A queue immediately formed, and we were able to help everyone in it. I was sad to see a heavily pregnant lady and a man on crutches with one leg visibly trembling in the cold.”

Magda said: “We are thankful for absolutely everything people like Andy do for Feed Leeds Homeless Project. Our dream is for there to come a day where every homeless person has a warm home, clean clothes, good job and hot meal every day.

“We trust and know that dreams do come true. For now, we are sharing what we have so the world around us can be a little bit better.”

Andy hopes donors will continue their support as he plans more handouts with Feed Leeds Homeless Project.

Donations can be made towards the initiative at Wm Dodgson & Son, 384 Harrogate Road, Moortown, LS17 6PY.

CEO Sam volunteers to direct vaccine boosters at local hospital

Sam Kershaw, CEO of Funeral Partners, worked five-hour shifts at his local hospital to help direct people getting vaccinated against Covid-19 across the festive season.

Sam previously volunteered at Hemel Hempstead General Hospital during the summer, where he assisted people looking to get their first two vaccines.

He returned in December to support the booster jab roll out and was pleased to see so many people making appointments and drop-ins.

He said: “We can’t stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated, and throughout the Christmas period there was a regular stream of people coming to Hemel Hempstead General Hospital to do just that, which was great to see.”

More than 55.9 million people have now had a vaccine booster or third dose, representing about 62.5% of Brits aged 12 or over.

Lest We forget

During November Waterside Funeral Home decorated their windows in support of the Royal British Legion and to honour both fallen and serving members of the Armed Forces community.

Cash for Kids

Funeral Arranger Sonia Hunjin started a fundraiser for Pulse 1 Radio’s Mission Christmas ‘Cash for Kids’’, which helps children that need it most across West Yorkshire, the Dales, Harrogate and York.

The ongoing impact of the pandemic has pushed even more people into poverty with Christmas being a luxury they just can’t afford.

Sonia and her colleagues from neighbouring funeral homes Wm Dodgson & Melia Powell raised £155.50, with Sonia making her own wax melts to sell, which will go towards supporting 17,101 children to receive gifts from Santa.

Memorial Tree

A memorial Christmas tree took pride of place at Doves Funeral Directors in Sittingbourne during December. Families were invited to bring in stars with hand written personal messages to friends and family to place on the tree. A total of 20 stars adorned the tree.

Lest We Forget

During November Doves Funeral Directors Staplehurst decorated their windows in support of the Royal British Legion and to honour both fallen and serving members of the Armed Forces community.

Lest We Forget

During November S Smith & Sons Funeral Directors decorated their windows in support of the Royal British Legion and to honour both fallen and serving members of the Armed Forces community.

Festive Window

S Smith & Sons Funeral Directors created this simple, yet effective window display for the festive season.

Santa’s Grotto

Slaithwaite Funeral Services made a donation of £20 toward items for a local Santa’s Grotto which was part of a Christmas Trail.

Parents and Children followed clues around Slaithwaite before heading back to the grotto where each child received a gift bag.

James Brown and Sons donate to local animal rescue charity

James Brown and Sons Funeral Directors in Dunmurry donated toys, treats, and bowls to Animal Connextions.  The non-profit organisation rescue and rehome animals in Northern Ireland.

For further information about Animal Connextions follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Animal-Connexions-148502008923/

James Brown and Sons Knockbreda donates £100 to Mount Merrion Church

James Brown and Sons Funeral Directors in Knockbreda donate £100 towards Christmas hampers to Mount Merrion Church.

The team at Mount Merrion Church delivered the hampers to 10 deserving families in the local area.

Memorial Stars

These handwritten memorial stars took pride of place at Shields of Donaghadee Funeral Directors in Donagahadee during December. Families were invited to write personal messages on these stars to friends and family.

Hamper donation to Croagh Patrick Nursing Home

Shields of Donaghadee Funeral Directors have continued their annual Christmas hamper donation to Croagh Patrick Nursing Home. The hamper will be included as a prize in their raffle.

Christmas Memorial Service

Every year the team at William H Painters Funeral Directors take part in a memorial service to help all the families they have served remember their loved ones. Unfortunately, the ongoing covid pandemic has stopped them being able to do this in person.

This year they have created two virtual tributes: a Christmas memorial service and a non-religious memorial service. The team created these beautiful tributes in hopes it brings comfort to families at this difficult time.

You can access these virtual tributes using the links provided below:

Non – Religious