Staff Festival 2024 | Why your charity vote is so important

“We were thrilled to have the University supporting our mission. The funding we received provided a major boost for our work.”

Staff Festival 2024 | Why your charity vote is so important. February 2024

With voting in full swing for the 2024 Staff Festival charity, the most recent beneficiaries from your fantastic fundraising efforts have revealed just how much this support has meant to them.

Reflecting one of the three over-arching elements of our University strategy – community – and our core values of compassion and inclusivity, we invited colleagues to nominate their favourite charity to benefit from last year’s event. Homeless Street Angels and Zarach won the vote and received £1,200 each from the 2023 Staff Festival proceeds – vital funding that came as a timely boost to both good causes.

Mirroring a story played out in cities across the UK, poverty levels have soared in Leeds as the cost of living crisis impacts families already struggling to make ends meet. Many are forced to make the cruel choice between food or fuel, while in extreme cases, the spiral of decline has even robbed people of the roof over their heads. 

Our 2023 chosen charities are two of the organisations trying to reverse this tragic trend. Homeless Street Angels provides hot meals, clothing and other essentials for people living rough in the city, while Zarach delivers beds and other basics to children in poverty.

Without government funding, however, both charities rely almost exclusively on donations to continue their life-changing work. Which is why your help was so crucial.


Amy Green, Zarach Funding and Communications Manager, said: “We were thrilled to have the University supporting our mission to end child bed poverty in England.  

“The funding we received provided a major boost for our work. Your donation has enabled us to provide six children with a brand new bed bundle of their own, giving them the opportunity to engage at school and a chance to break the cycle of poverty.

“Too many local families are tired, desperate and hopeless. Thousands of children in Leeds are going to sleep hungry and cold, without a proper bed of their own. Our mission is to give every head a bed so that every child can have a good night’s sleep, giving them the best opportunity to succeed at school. 

“If we don’t act now, then these cold, hungry and tired children won’t be able to engage in education. They won’t get the tools they need to challenge the cycle of poverty and free their families from crisis.”

Staff Festival 2024 | Why your charity vote is so important. February 2024

Bedding supplies are delivered to another child in Leeds by Zarach


Shelley Joyce, Homeless Street Angels Co-founder and Director, said: “We’re only a small charity desperately trying to do huge things. 

“We believe homeless and marginalised people are capable of change, but they will only achieve their full potential when offered a safe, supportive, empowering and non-judgemental environment. It’s our vision to provide such an environment to help reverse the spiral of homelessness.

“We aim to create a bond and trust with our clients to help them work towards a better life, growing their self-esteem, confidence and aspirations.

“We’re busier than ever at the moment, and as we aren’t government funded, we rely solely on the generosity of the community to continue doing what we love to do. Thank you so much for your support – it means a great deal to us and our clients.”

Staff Festival 2024 | Why your charity vote is so important. February 2024

Homeless Street Angels Co-founders and Directors, Becky and Shelley Joyce

Register your vote

Voting for this year’s Staff Festival charity closes at 5pm on 9 February.

Colleagues have one vote each to select their favourite good cause from the following shortlist:

  • Battle Scars
  • Candlelighters
  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  • Hope Pastures
  • Leeds Baby Bank
  • Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund/Rose’s Library
  • Leeds Women’s Aid
  • Maggie’s Yorkshire
  • MNDA/Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease
  • Rainbow Junktion

More details about each of these charities appears in our Staff Festival charity vote feature.

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