Manchester Storm and Shelter come together to fight homelessness with hockey
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Manchester Storm held two charity events last weekend in a bumper bid to raise money for those less fortunate.
Saturday’s game against Cardiff Devils saw Storm hold their annual ‘Teddy Bear Toss’. Fans were encouraged to bring along a teddy bear and following Storm’s first goal of the evening, throw their teddy bear onto the ice. These were collected and will be donated to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity this week by the players.
On Sunday the club faced top of the table Belfast Giants in what promised to be an exciting game. This game also something different as, in partnership with National charity Shelter, Storm held their first ever #hockeyfightshomelessness campaign. Supporters were encouraged to bring along any unwanted items of clothing, which will be donated to those less fortunate over the cold Christmas period.
Liam Hesketh, Storm’s Sponsorship & Marketing consultant, was determined that something needed to be done. He says: ‘’It’s something we’ve been speaking about for a while. Homelessness in Manchester right now, it’s on the rise and has been for a number of years. If Manchester can pull together, if more sports teams, more clubs can get together and fight it then that’s even better.
‘’We, the hockey community, are coming together today and we are going to give back. It’s going to be something that we want to do on a regular basis, we’ll look to do this annual now for sure, as it’s gone really well!’’
Image Credit: Lindsay Tilston Jones
Shelter had several volunteers on the night and managed to raise over £94. Even just one piece of clothing will do so much for someone less lucky, Allison Foreman, one of Shelter’s dedicated team members, says: ‘’It means warmth, and gives them a feeling that somebody actually cares about them.’’
As the winter continues it becomes ever so apparent to somebody that’s homeless, that they are in fact homeless. Allison says: "It’s not just from a safety point of view, but it becomes more apparent that you’re homeless when the winter comes because you have less opportunity to hang about outside if you’re sofa surfing.’’
The game finished in defeat for Storm, with Belfast winning 6-4 - however, the club was victorious in raising not only money but also so many items of clothing. Shelter’s Community fundraising manager Lindsay Tilston Jones thanked those who are able to help those in need: ‘’It’s the worst time of year. Can you imagine being in the minus figures, sleeping out on the streets, in shop doorways or in a damp flat or house?
‘’So many people will die or obtain health problems, or just have the saddest time because it is so cold. It’s so nice that people want to come along and help out."
Lindsay is encouraging people to help out: "Try and find out if you have a local Shelter charity shop on the high street, or you can come along to our Shelter hub in Manchester city centre," she says.
Thank you all so much. These are invaluable at this time of year and your support is really appreciated https://t.co/CN4OJxGARR— Shelter Manchester (@ShelterManc) December 17, 2018
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Shelter has lots of events lined up for the New Year as they aim to fight homelessness, yet more still needs to be done to help. John Ryan, Shelter’s Greater Manchester Hub Manager, says: ‘’The more we can do to raise awareness... of the real issues people face the better.
‘’In this day and age, 449 people died on our streets last year. If that happened in a plane crash it would be a disaster; communities would come together for that. For this though, we have to be better.’’
If you want to support Shelter you can do so here - https://england.shelter.org.uk
Follow Manchester Storm's progress via Twitter
Lead image credit: Lindsay Tilston Jones