As the cold winter weather hits, Lee Driver – a man who spent seven years sleeping rough on the streets – is calling on people in Melton to help the homeless by donating their unwanted furniture.
Lee is now being supported by local homelessness charity Emmaus Leicestershire and Rutland.
The charity has helped him escape life on the streets by providing accommodation and meaningful work. He can now be regularly spotted in the Emmaus van around Melton, collecting furniture to be sold in the charity’s shop in the town’s Market Place.
Having experienced sleeping rough during winter, Lee understands how important it is to support the homeless, especially at this time of year.
“Living on the streets was a really difficult thing to do, but the freezing winter temperatures make a difficult thing almost unbearable. I used to try and find any shelter I could, but when you’re out in that weather there’s not much you can do to escape the cold.
“Emmaus has changed my life completely; I now have a warm place to sleep and I enjoy the fact that every day my work is helping the charity to help more people like me.”
Emmaus Leicestershire and Rutland provides a home, support and meaningful work for 16 formerly homeless individuals. Some stay for a while as they gain confidence and skills before they’re ready to move on to independent living; others are in need of longer-term support and are able to stay for as long as they need to.
Lee is grateful to the charity that has helped him so much.
“Sometimes people want to help the homeless but don’t know the best way to do it; I’m asking everyone to take a look around at home - if you’ve any furniture you don’t want, give us a call. You’ll be supporting Melton’s Emmaus shop and raising vital funds to ensure the charity can continue to support people to turn their lives around.”
Emmaus Leicestershire and Rutland offers a free collection service for items in good condition. Each year, the charity collects more than 3,400 pieces of furniture, including wardrobes, beds and three piece suites, saving them from being thrown on a rubbish tip.
Shop manager Alan Townend said: “I’m a Melton man myself so I know how much goodwill there is in our community.
“We hope that gradually more people will get to know about our free collection service and give us a call - saving furniture from ending up in landfill and helping to raise funds for their local homelessness charity at the same time.”
To book a free collection for unwanted furniture, please call (01664) 668188 or visit www.emmaus.org.uk/leicestershire_rutland