Leicester homeless charity looking for volunteers to help at new shop
By Matthew Chandler
A charity in Leicester aiming to find permanent housing for the homeless is looking for volunteers to help at its new charity shop.
Help the Homeless Leicester, which feeds rough sleepers at the city’s market every Wednesday evening, will open its new store in Abbey Street in the next few weeks.
The shop will sell donated items and have an upstairs office space for people to receive advice, or for the charity to advocate housing for them.
Founding member Arif Voradji, who started the charity four years ago this month, said that extra help at the shop will always be welcome: “We’ll be needing volunteers in the shop as well so if people want to come and donate a few hours here and there that’s perfect.
“It’s not the homeless we help; it’s helping struggling families if they need things. We help a wide variety of people; in the past if people have suffered from flooding, for example. It’s pretty easy to do, it just needs some commitment.”
Arif was inspired to begin the charity by a friend who had been doing similar work in his home town of Bolton, so began buying bulk sets of jeans from eBay, and giving them out to those in need.
It has continually grown ever since, and its Facebook group, where people advertise spare food or clothing and draw attention to others needing help, now boasts more than 13,000 members.
Since becoming a registered charity earlier this year, Arif feels this has enabled his work to prosper even further: “There’s more transparency now for people who want to give money, and providing they [homeless people] haven’t got active addictions, we can provide permanent housing.
“We also get the benefits of companies that want to now work with us and get tax relief from donations from those that want to give money.”
With the winter months having now arrived, Arif is prepared for the charity’s busiest but most profitable time of year, and reiterated his team will assist anyone they can safely give help to.
He said: “From November to March it gets really busy and our donations are highest then because people can see the good that we’re doing when we’re housing people, so they want to be a part of it.
“If we can help people and it’s within our criteria, of course we’ll definitely help them. We will happily put them into a bed and breakfast; that’s not a problem.”