By Alice Young
Homeless Street Angels, a Leeds homelessness charity, has been granted official charity status just one week after their outreach van was written off.
Founded by twin sisters Becky and Shelley Joyce, Homeless Street Angels provide outreach every Thursday evening on the streets of Headingley and Leeds city centre – with trolleys of clothes, hot meals and toiletries.
Becky Joyce, director and co-founder of Homeless Street Angels, runs a cleaning business in Leeds, but dedicates her evenings and free time to helping those in need.
She said: “I make 100 meals myself every week – we have vegetarian meals, a curry, a stew or casserole and a pasta dish.
“I am now destined to make cheesecakes for the rest of my life because that’s what they queue up for.”
The charity works closely with Leeds City Council to rehouse those living on the streets of Leeds – they have successfully rehoused nearly 30 people since they launched two and a half years ago.
Miss Joyce said: “We want to get people off the streets and keep them off the streets.
“We have got one going off to university and one working with me in my cleaning business.”
The charity had a difficult week after their van started billowing smoke on an outreach evening.
A JustGiving fundraising page was set up to raise the money to replace the van, receiving social media support from Lord Sugar.
Miss Joyce added: “It just shows that we are worth supporting – it’s not about money, it’s about raising awareness for what we do.”
Please help the Homeless street angels raise money for a new van. They provide vital help feeding and clothing homeless people. It is a very worthy cause. https://t.co/auzhRvSDX6
— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) October 11, 2019
James Riley, 29, from Harehills has lived in a tent on the streets of Leeds.
He said: “Homeless Street Angels makes me feel proud that some people actually care – nowadays there are so many homeless people in Leeds that it has turned into dog-eat-dog.
“The volunteers are doing a good job – and the chicken biryani is great!”
Kyle Greenall, 26, from Leeds, has recently been rehoused in Beeston, with the help of Miss Joyce.
He said: “Before I was living on the streets and I didn’t have a purpose in life.
“Since Becky got me a tenancy, I’ve started to volunteer here.
“If it wasn’t for her and the team, I wouldn’t be able to now help.”
Rochelle Scott, 54, a teacher from North Leeds, is part of the regular outreach team in Leeds city centre.
She said: “When I volunteered here for the first time, it was the saddest thing to see.
“Volunteering here gives you such a wonderful feeling – you get to know so many people and build up lovely relationships.”
Mel Cope, 22, a recent Leeds University graduate, is a regular volunteer.
She said: “Homelessness is rising at the most incredible rate – it is projects like this that keep people going.
“That’s why we do what we do.”
Last week, the charity was granted official charity status – Becky Joyce shared the news over social media.
She said: “We are officially a charity – I’m in tears.
“All the years of blood, sweat and tears – I can’t thank all my angels enough.
“We have worked so hard for this.”