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Derventio asks Derby firms to donate unspent Christmas party money to help give homeless people hope for the future

Derventio asks Derby firms to donate unspent Christmas party money to help give homeless people hope for the future

A Derby housing trust is appealing to local companies to donate unspent funds from cancelled Christmas parties to help it raise money to give homeless people new hope for 2021.

Derventio Housing Trust is hoping that businesses who are unable to hold festive celebrations for staff this year will give their backing to its annual winter appeal, which has been given a 12 Days of Christmas theme for 2020.

The Trust, which is based in Boyer Street, is hoping to raise money to boost the coffers of its charitable empowerment fund, which has been described as a “lifeline” for a succession of homeless people who have benefitted from it down the years by helping them pay for everyday objects which can make a huge difference to their lives, whether it helps them to furnish a house, buy an important document or help them to enjoy a hobby or interest.

Examples pf purchases made possible by the fund last year include a mattress, iron boards, washing machines, cookers, chairs, a passport for ID purposes, a pair of shoes, and a game of foot golf for two at Markeaton Park, while one man even claimed £6, which paid for the complete works of Shakespeare “for meaningful use of time”.

The Trust has set up a special webpage with 12 stories telling of how the empowerment fund has helped its residents, with one story being revealed each day, starting next week.

Derventio Housing Trust manages 600 bed spaces of accommodation for single homeless people in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and elsewhere in the UK and helps 1,100 people to access support, services and training. This enables them to get their lives back on track, with many having had to deal with issues such as domestic abuse, debts or a relationship breakdown, or who may have drug and alcohol dependencies.

Jackie Carpenter, assistant director of strategy at Derventio Housing Trust, said:

“Sadly, the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak this year has affected both the people we work with and our ability to raise money, so our empowerment fund is in dire need of support, which is why we’re hopeful that local companies will be able to help us by donating the unused cost of Christmas parties that will not be taking place this year due to the coronavirus restrictions to help us.

“It’s increasingly clear that Christmas 2020 will be a very different experience to the norm so I hope that by making this gesture, companies in Derby will be able to spread some joy to help others at their own time of need, whether it’s to set them up in their new home or pay for ID or documents that will enable them to find a new job or access training.

“The range of objects or services that people use the fund for is wide and often the most innocuous and unexpected object can make a huge different to somebody who otherwise has nothing.”

One of those who has received money from the fund this year is 31-year-old Andy (not his real name) who has just moved into his own rented home in Ripley after leaving Derventio Housing Trust’s accommodation last month.

With no job and no money to furnish his home, he was given £250, which he has used to buy a bed and other items, and is now on the lookout for work, while he waits to see if he has been accepted into university to study mechanical engineering.

He said: “This time last year I jumped into the canal because I wanted to commit suicide. I spent last Christmas in a mental unit and I’m so grateful to Derventio because they’ve helped me build myself back up again.

“I’m so grateful for the money, it makes a huge difference to me. I didn’t have many possessions when I moved in, just a blanket and my engineering text books, but this allows me to make it a proper home.

“Now I’m in my own place, I finally feel like a normal human being again.”

To find out more about Derventio Housing Trust’s 12 Days of Christmas Appeal visit www.derventiohousing.com


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