A round up of good deeds to be found in Leeds and all around

If there’s one thing I know to be true of our city, it’s that it has a heart of gold. Never has this been more evident than over the course of the last two years as the pandemic threw us into uncertainty. 

Last year we saw local chefs step up to feed children during the school holidays despite the uncertain times that lay ahead for their businesses. Our communities have cared for one another, ensuring prescriptions were dropped on doorsteps and groceries fetched for those unable to go out. Efforts were also made by local businesses and individuals to feed key workers who bore the brunt of COVID-19.

Christmas can be an intensely emotive time, and with the uncertainty of the pandemic looming once more over our festivities, there is no better time to search for warmth and compassion in our city. 

Here are just some of the lovely deeds we’ve heard about recently, and a few ways for you to get involved too.

Givto Volunteers 301121
Give it up to Givto Image: Givto


Givto was launched by a group of volunteers on 1 December and is a new way for people to donate to a number of charities throughout the year. Users set up a direct debit, they will be given three charities to choose between each month and their donation will be sent to their favourite. Givto is operated by the Better Giving Partnership, which was founded by a small group of friends in Leeds who share a passion for helping people to discover and connect with charitable organisations. 

Hollywood Bowl Run To Hollywood Charity Girl with Santa Father Christmas
"You can't wear trainers on the lanes mate, I don't care who you are" Image: Stripe Communications

Hollywood Bowl Leeds and Barnardo’s

Hollywood Bowl Leeds has teamed up with children’s charity Barnardo’s to start a festive fundraising venture this Christmas. They’re going to be racing Santa. The Race Santa activity will see Hollywood Bowl Leeds team members encouraged to walk, run, swim and cycle the 7,724 mile distance from the North Pole to Hollywood, and back again, all to raise money for Barnardo’s. They’re hoping to complete the distance before Christmas Eve in order to beat Santa to his sleigh ride. Hollywood Bowl team members will also tackle the Yorkshire Three Peaks in 2022, challenging themselves to finish in under 24 hours. 

Surplus To Purpose
Surplus to Purpose says B******s to food waste Image: Surplus to Purpose

Surplus To Purpose

Previously known as The Real Junk Food Project, Surplus To Purpose has one simple mission, to end food waste. Adam Smith set up the charity to stop food from going to landfill and to make it easier for people who struggle to access food to do so. It has grown exponentially, with people opening Pay As You Feel cafes and warehouses around the world. Local businesses can send waste food to the Surplus To Purpose warehouses, where customers can come and pay as they feel for groceries. You will also find food from Surplus To Purpose on the Too Good To Go app, which often has restaurant food on it. Next time you’re thinking about a takeaway, why not check it out and see if you can prevent food waste while you get your feast on.

This December Surplus To Purpose also teamed up with local brewery Northern Monk to brew a Mince Pie imperial stout called Wasted Christmas, using 2,000 mince pies that would otherwise have gone to waste. At 11%, that’s sure to spread some festive cheer.

The team have a busy year ahead of them, opening a new Pay As You Feel cafe at The Street in Scarborough on 4 January. They’re also going to be feeding 100 homeless people with surplus soup in Wakefield, Reading, and Oxford next Tuesday (21 December), and launching a feast night at Barnsley Northern College at the end of January in collaboration with Thomas Franks.

Xmas Doner 2021 18 Of 21
Add a little, give a little Image: I am Döner

I am Döner, Only a Pavement Away, and West Yorkshire Hardship Project

On December 14th, I am Döner joined the West Yorkshire Hardship Project to donate kebabs, hot drinks, and warm clothing to homeless folk in Leeds. Staff and customers also gathered warm clothing to give out. And that’s not all, they’re also giving customers a chance to "add a little Christmas" to their kebabs and in return, they will "give a little Christmas". If you decide to "add a little Christmas", they’ll add turkey bacon, stuffing balls, sprout slaw, and lashings of gravy to your ‘bab. £3 from each upgrade will be donated to Only a Pavement Away. Their winter SOS campaign is raising funds to help people facing homelessness this year.  The funds will help the charity connect 250 people facing homelessness into jobs in hospitality over the next 12 months. Find your nearest Leeds or Harrogate restaurant here. If you’re not local, you can still donate to Only A Pavement Away via the I am Döner website.

St Gemmas Hospic Tree Collection Service
It's not theft, it's tree-son Image: St Gemma's Hospice

St Gemma’s Hospice tree collection

Each year, St Gemma’s organises a tree collection to raise funds for the hospice. There's a minimum donation of £10 to come and take your Christmas tree away between 6-10 January. In January 2021 this charitable recycling scheme raised a whopping £29,000. And if a financial donation isn’t enough, you can even volunteer to help with the tree collections. 

St Georges Crypt
Christmas always gets us a bit Santa-mental Image: St. Georges Crypt

St George's Crypt

The team at St George's Crypt work relentlessly to help bring folk in from the cold, give them a bed to sleep in, and provide them with a hearty meal. They’ve been doing this life-changing work to help those struggling with addiction and homelessness since 1930. Christmas is a particularly challenging time for many of their vulnerable clients, a number of whom have experienced negligence or abuse in their early years. The staff at St George’s work hard to deliver some of the Christmas magic so many of us are fortunate to have, to those staying at The Crypt. You can make a donation You can make a donation to St George's, or volunteer some of your time in 2022.

2021 02 15 Beer Leeds North Brewing Co Man Holding Beer And Glass
Brewing up good vibes all year round Image: North Brewing Co.

North Brewing Co and Turning Lives Around

In early December, North Brewing Co asked staff and customers to donate warm clothing, toiletries, and bedding to support the Seacole Scheme by Turning Lives Around. This organisation helps to prevent homelessness and empower people to change their lives. They focus on building supportive communities that give people independence, instilling a sense of purpose and power. They help homeless people with housing solutions and support to find employment. North Brewing Co is not taking any more donations at this time, but you can get in touch with the charity directly to offer donations. 

Town Centre Securities Leeds Hopsitals Charity
The shop's in safe hands with these folks Image: Town Centre Securities

Town Centre Securities PLC and Leeds Hospitals Charity

At the start of December, head office staff at property developer and car park operator Town Centre Securities PLC (TCS) collectively donated more than 100 hours of their time to work shifts at the Leeds Hospitals Charity shop, which opened on the main mall at Leeds Merrion Centre in May this year. Employees also donated bags of essentials including pre-loved clothing and homeware goods to stock within the shop. The Leeds Hospitals Charity shop in the Merrion centre accepts donations of clothing, accessories, and books daily, as does the Crossgates Shopping Centre location. Remember to check opening times before heading in with your donation. If you’d like to volunteer to support your local NHS hospital you can find out more on their website.

Read next: Simon Rogan on 20 years of L'Enclume and plans for the future

Read again: Eight places for traditional or alt Christmas dinner in Leeds

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