Donna’s Story.

An interview with Donna, who supports Bradford’s homeless population by taking out food and helping them get places in hostels and supported housing.

This interview was conducted by Johna for Recovery Radio.


“We help anyone really, anyone who needs our help.”


So Donna, how did you get involved in feeding the homeless?
I’ve been feeding the homeless for about 2 years. Often I’d know some of the people I passed in the streets, they’d be people I’d grown up with, so I’d buy them food once a week. Then in October last year I saw quite a few, and it just broke my heart, so I decided to start going out six nights a week. Another lady does Friday so I have that night off.

And what’s your client base like?
It’s not just the homeless. There’s me and another lady, Angie, and she helps the refugees and asylum seekers that have been dumped in Bradford with next to nothing. On a Sunday we open a centre for the women and children to come. The children can do homework with each other and the parents can get to know other parents. I got a call last week off a lady crying because she and her four year old boy have had no food for weeks since their benefits stopped. They had no-one else to turn to, so I grabbed whatever was in my fridge and went straight there. We help anyone really, anyone who needs our help.


“We help anyone really, anyone who needs our help.”


So do you think the refugees are misrepresented in the media?
Yes. 100%. I say to people, next time you see a refugee or asylum seeker, please go and see what they’ve got. They’re put in these horrible homes with mould and nothing but a food voucher for £5. When you’ve got a family of six, or even of two, that hardly does anything. It doesn’t clothe you and feed you. So what we try to do is get them into housing options and give them clothes and food, and furniture. Angie tries to sort their benefits out and takes them to speak to the people who can help.

What do you think has been the impact of your work?
We’ve raised the community. The community centre does trips in the summer holidays, so Angie and I raised the money to take 96 kids on each trip plus adults. Everyone slates the homeless but they gave me all their change, and that paid for packed lunches for those kids on those trips. The people who have nothing still give as much as they can, even if it’s just coppers.

How do you fund all the work you do?
Through donations and from my own money. It costs about £50 to do the basic run each week, which includes the hot meals, hot drinks, and snacks. Most of my donations come from friends and family, and Danielle from Tesco on Great Horton Road supports me every week, supplying fruit. We’ve also just asked my local community for funding to rent out a shop space so we can store furniture and clothes, and put together food parcels there. Hopefully that’ll come through soon.


“The people who have nothing still give as much as they can, even if it’s just coppers.”


If you received more funding what would you want to do with it?
I think providing furniture is one of the most important things we do, because people are given ‘the basics’, but that doesn’t include things like fridges and bedding. I know some people who get their housing and then they have to sleep in sleeping bags because they can’t afford any of the furnishings. It’s better because it’s a roof, but it’s not a proper home or a fresh start.

And if people want to donate anything to you have you got a way for them to do that?
We’ve set up a justgiving page to collect donations. We’re a bit worried about the winter season fast approaching. Last year at Christmas it was heartbreaking, me and my children spent our whole day feeding the homeless and I went home and just couldn’t sleep because I knew all these people would be freezing. I want to be able to fund at least one person’s place in a B&B over Christmas. A lot wasn’t happening last year, and it broke my heart. I want this year to be different.


“A lot wasn’t happening last year, and it broke my heart. I want this year to be different.”



If you would like to help Donna and Angie in their work with the homeless, find them on Street Support here