Homeless charity Hands of Change wins community pride award

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:58 14 December 2017

Lisa Cooper, Kay Barrett and PCC Sue Mountsteven.

Lisa Cooper, Kay Barrett and PCC Sue Mountsteven.

Archant

A volunteer who set up her own charity has been presented with a Pride Award.

Kay Barrett received the award from Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountsteven at an award ceremony held at the Police and Fire headquarters, in Portishead.

Burnham-on-Sea resident Kay launched her charity Hands Of Change in January 2016, and began handing out shoeboxes packed with food, healthcare items and clothing to homeless people in the Weston area.

Kay, alongside her daughter, felt more should be done throughout the year to help the homeless.

A Facebook group was set up to help, which spiralled into a support network of volunteers which now has 1,000 members, and groups set up in Highbridge, Cheddar and Bridgwater.

Speaking about the charity’s growth, Kay said: “It is amazing to see the progress we have made in two years.

“We are like an old fashioned community – our members speak to people, look out for them and people know they can rely on us.

“I was nominated by my niece for this award, and to win it is an achievement for this amazing team, not me as an individual, because without the goodwill of others our charity would not be possible.”

Kay, of Quintock Close, manages the charity’s Facebook page full-time as she is unable to work due to illness.

The 53-year-old arranges food and clothes collections, and any volunteers who can help to distribute the items do so.

The group’s growth has earned them donations from supermarket Lidl and bakery chain Greggs, who have gifted food supplies for the group to distribute over the Christmas period.

For Kay, her achievements highlight the importance of community spirt and overcoming adversity.

She said: “When you have been told ‘you will never amount to anything’ it is an amazing feeling to overcome these obstacles.”

“The sense of community has changed over recent years, as people have become too absorbed in their own lives to worry about others, but Hands Of Change tries to change that.”

Anyone interested in joining Hands Of Change, visit www.facebook.com/groups/523865264453613 email handsofchangebos@gmail.com or call 07713232588.

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