Helping Our Community: Helping the Homeless.

Community: Helping the Homeless

Many quilts, pillows, blankets and sleeping bags were given to Maggie Owens (landlady of  The Commercial Hotel in Colne).

Maggie said,

“I received a text message from Scott McDermott of Unique Campers.  They had various items that had been used once that they wished to donate to a good cause. Of course, we jumped at the offer – there’s no way we would pass up such a donation. Once we start handing them out, they’ll probably be gone in less than 20 minutes! They’ll certainly help keep people warm. We are so grateful for this help.”

Maggie & “Hands of Hope” 
Most folk in Colne know of Maggie.  She’s the landlady of The Commercial Hotel and you’ll also find her helping out with local events such as the Colne Gala – Colne’s Got Talent competition. But … she’s also a key member of the Hands of Hope (a non-profit organisation serving the community).

Hands_of_HopeEvery Wed evening, Maggie heads over to Blackburn to help feed the homeless. What you may not know, is that she also prepares meals each week – she’s tries to ensure that a hot meal is included as part of their food offerings. 

She is keen to mention that they have a fabulous team and a whole bunch of Colne people volunteer their time – Julie Wilson, Ginny & Anthony Jones, Steve Croke and Karen Monk.  There are lots of other volunteers in Hands of Hope & a special mention must go to Shakeel Choudhry, who puts in so much effort.

Farmfoods (Colne) donate lots of items.  In fact, due to the work of Colne store manager Stephanie Davies, Farmfoods stores across the North West also donate food & other items.  Greggs & Costa (Blackburn) also donate.

Maggie will always accept any type of donations cash, vouchers, clothes, food (including frozen food) etc. Frozen food? “Yes, no problem. I have three big freezers dedicated to storage.”. We were surprised to learn donations include pet food and washing powder. “Some people have pets as company and clothes need washing. It all helps”.

Did we mention furniture? Well, Maggie hangs onto literally anything that might be useful to helping others out.  There’s no way that we can get a grip on the extent of their work in a short chat and can’t help feeling that we haven’t even scratched the surface of what they actually do for the community.  It’s clear that every situation is different and often requires a personal touch.

However, their work reaches out far & wide:-

  • Food parcels for local people in need,
  • Easter Eggs to nursing homes, hospices, children’s homes etc. at Easter.
  • Christmas Shoe Boxes for the homeless (and care homes) etc.
  • Christmas Selection Boxes for children (children’s home’s, refuges, hospitals etc.)

Whilst we were chatting to Maggie about the donation of camping equipment, she explained their plans to distribute Christmas Shoe Boxes & Selection Boxes and also told us about a couple of other donations that she’d received at the same time.

Donations being accepted for Shoe Boxes & Selection Boxes for Christmas
They’ll be distributing Christmas Shoe Boxes for the homeless and Selection Boxes for children. 

The Christmas Shoe Boxes generally contain gloves, scarfs, hats, dried food, toiletries and perhaps a Christmas card/message (no sharp items or tablets!).  Shoe Boxes need to be clearly marked up – for male or female.

Other donations
The first one was £40 in cash from Andrea Curran and Joan Richardson.  Maggie explained that they each donate £20 every year. The second donation was £35 worth of high street vouchers from DEPHER. Maggie said,

“You won’t believe how far £35 will go. This is a massive help. It will go a long way to make lots of people smile over Christmas.”

Here’s Maggie at Earnie’s – supporting their Macmillan Coffee morning event. As you can see, she’s at her happiest when she’s helping others – in this case, buying lots of raffle and tombola tickets. With the mount of tickets she bought it’s not surprising that she seemed to win all the prizes! 

“It’s all in a good cause, isn’t it?”

It’s obvious that Maggie has helped countless people over the years whether it be the homeless, families in need or helping individuals get back on their feet. She’s so passionate and her work is relentless. When asked why she devotes literally all her spare time , she says 

“Well, I love it, don’t I? Sometimes I’m heartbroken, but if I can help then I will. It could so easily be me next week.”

Maggie … we have the utmost respect for you and your volunteers and everyone that helps. Such fantastic work.

Want to help?
Get in touch with Maggie Owens at The Commercial Hotel and have a chat to her.

Disabled & Elderly Plumbing & Heating Emergency Repairs ( D.E.P.H.E.R )
After a little bit of research, we find that the donation from Depher is interesting in itself. This company is registered as a CIC – a Community Interest Company. They are a not for profit company focused on “plumbing & heating services for the elderly and disabled”.  

James Anderson of Depher said, 

“It is with the greatest of pleasure to announce that from October 1st 2019 we will be re-introducing the Depher initiative for the Elderly and Disabled in the community.

The rules are as follows :-
You are entitled to the initiative if you are over 65 years of age and / or Disabled.
You will receive a 25% Discount.
We will work to increase the discount as we raise funding through normal day to day work.

The initiative covers the following:-
Water leaks, gas leaks, heating / hot water breakdown, blocked drains, blocked pipes, frozen pipes.

We cannot cover new installations but we will help all we can with the cost if you do need a new appliance or fixture.”

They have a Crowdfunding page and a whole bunch of stories of some of the people that they have helped.


Company logo’s are subject to trademarks of Unique Campers and Depher. They have been reproduced here by permission.

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About Naz Alam 293 Articles
Naz is well known in the local community as a photo journalist. He is group creator for 'Colne Talk' - a Facebook Community Group which has approx 20K members. He also runs multiple Facebook pages for the local community & local business, such as 'Visit Colne'.