Wednesday, December 7, 2022

News: Fundraising at Rotherham soapmaker in the hands of the crowd


A Rotherham-based social enterprise transforming the lives of homeless people has launched a £50,000 Crowdfunder - as a ‘perfect storm’ pushes more people onto the streets.

Inspirational Labre’s Hope in Parkgate pays people experiencing homelessness a living wage to create planet-friendly and luxury soaps or candles. Now the team are launching a fundraising drive to continue and expand that work once their initial Government funding finishes in December.

It comes after figures showed the number of households with children in Sheffield facing homelessness more than doubled last year.

High energy bills, the cost-of-living crisis and end of the Covid eviction ban are also expected to impact on homelessness figures.

Aaron Probert, who founded Labre’s Hope after hearing the heart-breaking story of a rough sleeper on a Sheffield street, said: “There is a perfect storm of factors all hitting people simultaneously which can only lead to more homelessness nationally.

“We’ve seen some of our workers being asked to pay six months rent in advance which is impossible, even for people in high income jobs.

“It’s been incredible to see how we’ve helped people break the cycle of homelessness and change their lives through employment, but we need to do more. “We want to continue our work in South Yorkshire and eventually expand right across the country.

“People who are able to back our Crowdfunder will become part of our journey and have a powerful impact on the lives of vulnerable people in society.”

The new Crowdfunding campaign will aim to raise £50,000, with donations of up to £250 match funded by insurance company Aviva.

Hand-made vegan soaps and soap or candle making experiences are among the rewards available in return.

Danny Wathall is one of the formerly homeless people whose life has been turned around thanks to Labre’s Hope - he now teaches soap making to others. He said: “Anybody can become homeless - I should know, it happened to me.

“In 2019 I ended up homeless, sleeping in sheds, sometimes beds. I got in touch with mental health services who put in touch with some support then everything changed thanks to Labre’s Hope.”

Labre’s Hope is named after the patron saint of homelessness Saint Benedict Joseph Labre. It received £500,000 from the Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund but those funds must be used by December 2022.

Labre's Hope website
Crowdfunder website

Images: Labre's Hope


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