The news comes hot on the heels of Homeless Street Angels gaining official charitable status, a mere two and a half years after it was established. Founded by two sisters Becky and Shelley Joyce, it delivers 100 hot meals every Thursday to people living on the streets in Leeds and Headingley, as well as blankets, toiletries and other essentials.
Skopes, which has donated considerable amount each year for many years now, reportedly donates £150,000 per year to various charitable organisations, such as the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board and Yorkshire Air Ambulance, celebrated its 70th anniversary last year and plans to open 15 new stores across the UK over the next two to three years.
Homeless Street Angels’ life-changing work can be seen in the case of Ryan, 36, who was living on the streets for four years after some difficult times. After being assigned a council flat, Homeless Street Angels furnished Ryan’s new home by donations since the council offered no assistance.
Skopes then gave Ryan a full-time permanent job in the Leeds warehouse on the Cross Green Trading Estate, meaning Ryan could go on to earn in the region of £18,000 to £20,000 a year, four or five times his previous income from the government.
Becky Joyce, the charity’s co-founder added: “Having Skopes on board is fantastic. Each week we wonder if we’re going to be able to feed people the following week, so achieving charitable status and businesses like Skopes joining us really helps people get off the streets. We’ve funded a lot of this ourselves so having Skopes stepping in and helping the likes of Ryan is one of our first successes.”
Simon Cope, Skopes’ managing director, said: “This really shows what a massive difference the Homeless Street Angels makes. They are 100% changing and saving people’s lives. I am also looking into assisting Ryan with his desire to study Psychology at a Leeds College or university and further support Ryan thereafter so that he can achieve his aspirations and thus be an inspiration to us all.
“Skopes is very proud to be a part of this by financially assisting the HSA with their lifesaving process.”
The next step for Leeds’ Homeless Street Angels is to create ‘Abi’s House’ a funded day centre, named after Becky and Shelley’s sister who passed away at the age of 39 in 2017. The centre will be for those who are looking to get back on their feet and will provide assistance in life, offering assistance with applications and therapy, while a library and garden is proposed too. “We’ve been doing this for a few years now, we’re like family to those we help,” explained Becky, “We want this new day centre to feel like they’re coming home to family too.”