Teardrops saved from closure

A homelessness charity which was inspired by a trip to McDonald’s has been saved from closing its doors by emergency funding.

Denise Kelly launched Teardrops Supporting The Homeless four years ago in St Helens after her daughter Shauni Ward saw a homeless man as she prepared to go through a McDonald’s drive-thru.

“He had a really thin blanket keeping him warm and my daughter said there must be something we could do to help so we launched Teardrops,” recalled Denise.

The charity helps homeless people or those at risk of homelessness in St Helens and the surrounding areas and recently set up a Hub facility in a former restaurant, to act as a base to deliver a wide range of services, which will be open six days and four nights a week.

The charity also helps homeless people integrate themselves back into society and healthy, mainstream living.

Up to 60 people access the Hub’s facilities on a daily basis every week but Covid-19 left the charity facing a financial blackhole until the Steve Morgan Foundation stepped in with emergency funding of £14,500.

Morgan, who is the founder of housebuilder Redrow, has pledged to give £1m a week to charities in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales through the Steve Morgan Foundation during the acute first 12 weeks of Covid-19 to allow them to carry on helping the vulnerable.

Denise said: “Since we were awarded charity status in September 2016, Teardrops has grown and grown. We’re not a shelter as such but we offer a range of help including preventative and educational workshops with schools in the area, drug and alcohol advice, diabetes screening, cooking, eye tests, sexual health, help with obtaining universal credit, food and referrals for health support. 

“The Steve Morgan Foundation recently supported our workshop to over a 100 students educating them around such topics as anti-social behaviour, knife crime, alcohol, drugs and county lines which was cut short due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“When Covid-19 hit we had to cancel a lot of our fundraising events, which we think will cost us £30,000 up until the end of June.

“The homelessness problem hasn’t gone away and without the emergency funding we’d have had to close our doors because we couldn’t sustain our rent. 

“We realised we had to evolve at this time so the Hub has been turned into an emergency food bank supporting those most vulnerable in the community as well as still continuing to support the rough sleepers and sofa surfers with hot meals and drinks. We are making over 30 deliveries a day with essential food packs to vulnerable families and people in the community and this is increasing day-on-day

“None of us know how long Covid-19 will last and because we raise all our own funds it could have been devastating.”

The funding has enabled the charity to keep the Teardrops Hub open and continue helping 90 families through their work with three primary schools in St Helens.

The charity has been posting images on their Twitter account of all the groups and organisations that have been donating to their food banks.

The Steve Morgan Foundation has previously supported the charity with a grant of £82,236 to help fund a centre manager at the Hub over a three-year period.

Steve Morgan, of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “Teardrops has dedicated itself to helping the most vulnerable sectors of society and it’s vital that continues through these tough times.”

Some of the groups that have made donations to Teardrops’ food banks

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