Belgrave resident sets up Shoebox Appeal to help rough sleepers in Leicestershire

By Jayden Whitworth

A Belgrave resident has set up a shoebox appeal this Christmas to help the rough sleepers around the county.

This year more than ever due to Covid lockdowns, rough sleepers are finding themselves in need of basic necessities and the number of rough sleepers around Leicestershire has risen as a result of the precarious environment Britain currently finds itself in.

Help the Homeless is a local charity that runs a soup kitchen at Leicester market for the homeless every Wednesday evening, all year round.

At Christmas it asks for donations so it can put together shoeboxes containing useful items to hand out to homeless people who are known to the charity, as well as to strangers.

Every year, Noorbanu Hussein, her brother Jameel Sheikh and her sister Amna Sheikh run their own shoebox appeal to support the charity but this year have adjusted the way they run it in order to stay in line with current COVID-19 restrictions.

Festive volunteers: From left, Amna Sheikh, Noorbanu Hussein and Jameel Sheikh

This year the boxes have been assembled in a Covid secure way with masks and gloves used to stop the spread of the virus.

In normal circumstances, Noorbanu and her siblings would hand out the shoeboxes on Leicester market at the charity’s initial festive weekly meal night. However this year due to the current restrictions, alternative arrangements are now in place to prevent face-to-face contact.

There is now a drop off point and a pick up point at a Belgrave address, to help to lower the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

Noorbanu said: “This year donations have been really, really dry. We’ve had to get some donations from our own pocket which is not a problem but, last year and the year before, there were loads of donations being dropped off but this year due to COVID-19 a lot of people have had financial difficulties.

“In regard to rough sleepers I can say for sure that in the city there are a lot more rough sleepers than there used to be before COVID-19.

“I would say this is due to hotels having limited capacity and some accommodation may not be able to keep all the rough sleepers.”

Noorbanu and her siblings are still appealing for donations up until the cut-off point of December 14th and can be dropped off at the Belgrave home address at any time.

Items required are toiletries and basic items of clothing such as socks underwear, hats and scarves

Other donations are welcome and Noorbanu can be contacted on 07951 899000.

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