“How can I help?” is a question we’re often asked.
Of course, we’re always grateful for donations, and you can make one - or set up a standing order if you’d like to make a regular commitment to supporting our work - here.
We’re also always on the lookout for volunteers, especially if you’re willing to drive our community members to events or groups or help with our Graveside project.
But there are a number of individuals and groups out there who have supported - and continue to support us - in more unusual ways. Here are just three examples of how our community has gone over and above to help us continue to run our groups and services over the last year.
The Twohey Family
The Twohey Family donated the collection money from their mum Elizabeth Twohey’s funeral mass to LIHH in 2022.
Elizabeth Twohey raised seven children in Leeds with her husband, James. Both hailed from County Roscommon and Elizabeth nursed in Chapel Allerton, Cookridge Hospital and the LGI. Her son, also James, recalls his mum as a woman with a twinkle in her eye.
“She was known by a few names: Mum, Grandma, the Queen Mother, Mrs T,” explains James. “If things were a bit flat in company, she’d make a joke - she always wanted to lift people’s spirits.”
“She raised the family, had a career in nursing and kept up with the church and her social life, plus she travelled to many destinations including the Holy Land, Rome and Medjugorje. She was a remarkable character - that might sound biased, but she really was.”
When Elizabeth died aged 92, the funeral director asked the family if they’d like the funeral Mass collection to go to any particular charity or cause.
“We asked ourselves ‘What could we do for the local community?’ and we thought of Leeds Irish Health and Homes,” says James.
“Mum wasn’t a fully-pledged member of LIHH but we were aware of the work the organisation does for the community and vulnerable people.”
“We thought it would be a lovely way to give back to a local charity helping people who perhaps don’t have the local family support that my mum had.”
The Women of Irish Heritage Network
Veronica Shackleton (pictured, centre), General Counsel at Mamas and Papas, supports LIHH through the Women of Irish Heritage Network, which helps raise funds for Fréa, a partnership of three Irish charities across the North of England including Leeds Irish Health and Homes.
Veronica, whose grandmother Mai Bastow (née Byrne) settled in Leeds from Wexford in the 1940s and whose other grandparents were Flannerys from Mayo, came along to the first Women of Irish Heritage Networking Group in Manchester in March 2022.
Since then, she’s attended several of the gatherings. “The Network’s motto is ‘There is no strength without unity’ - ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ - and I believe it’s so important that my generation celebrates our shared heritage and can join forces to support Irish charities working with our community,” says Veronica.
In November 2022, Veronica won a hamper of luxury goods at a WIH networking evening in a Fréa raffle. However, with incredible generosity, she decided to donate her prize back to the WIH group so that it could be raffled again at a later date.
“LIHH really rose to the challenge during the Covid lockdowns,” says Veronica. “They supported members of the community to keep their spirits high and found innovative ways to support wellbeing.”
“The Craic Packs were another great initiative, Messages from local school children brought joy into homes around the city at a time when the generations were being kept apart.”
For Veronica, the work of LIHH feels very close to home. “My sister Siobhan is a support worker for LIHH and I know that everything they do takes funding. I was happy to help in any way I could.”
Leeds University Irish Dancing Society
Leeds University Irish Dance society organises regular fundraising events, with proceeds raised going towards Leeds Irish Health and Homes’ lifeline services.
The relationship between LIHH and Leeds University Irish Dancing Society is long-established, beginning a decade ago when a member of the LIHH reached out to see whether the group would perform at a Christmas event.
“We’re a really inclusive group,” says current society President Leah Costigan. “Although we’re based at Leeds University, we welcome people from any of the Leeds universities, or any adult who wants to take part in the city can have a participant membership.”
“And we cater for total beginners through to competition winners - everyone’s welcome to come and have a go.”
Leah is from Greystones, County Wicklow and moved to the city to study Theatre and Performance. “I’ve danced since I was six years old; if I wasn’t in school, I was dancing. Joining the society was a great way to make friends in a new country.”
The dancers put on several shows over the course of the year and use them as opportunities to raise money for Leeds Irish Health and Homes.
And there are plans afoot to get some of the dancers to a Leeds Irish Health and Homes event in 2024 so that they can meet the community members their efforts support.
We’re so grateful to the Twoheys, The Women of Irish Heritage Network and to Leeds University Irish Dancing Society for supporting us this year - and for everyone who’s given the gift of their time or a donation to help us continue our work.
Could you help support Leeds Irish Health and Homes? If you‘re able and inclined, head over to our Donate page, or contact us on 0113 262 5614 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in fundraising or volunteering for us. We’d love to hear from you.