Fri, 09 Mar 2018
A MOTHER and daughter from Newbury have been braving the bitterly cold weather to deliver food, warm drinks, clothing and sleeping bags to homeless people across the county at a time when they need them most.
As temperatures plummeted to below freezing, Nicola and Ella Tomkins decided they couldn’t simply sit back and do nothing – so instead made it their mission to make a difference.
In addition to delivering the much-needed items using their trusty Land Rover, they have also set up a Just Giving page and have managed to raise a remarkable £3,220 for homeless charities in less than a week.
Nicola Tomkins, 45, of Craven Road, said: “Last Tuesday we were sat here chatting in the freezing cold and I was talking about homelessness.
“My daughter said ‘come on let’s do something’. We knew the weather was getting bad and that the homeless shelter was closing. There is, and was, a real risk of people dying out there.
“We have been so humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity, the offers of help and the messages of support from people. Never in our wildest dreams did I think we’d get this response. From very small acorns a big tree has grown.
“We’ve had an overseas donation of £500 and our youngest donation came from a 12-year-old local girl called Bayley Hill.
“It shows that community spirit in Newbury is certainly alive and well.
“ALDI in Newbury have been brilliant and given us loads, as have Costwold Outdoor Clothing and Trespass.”
She added: “Some of the homeless people we spoke to said ‘you’ve got to keep on smiling because it can’t get any worse than this’.
“That is pretty admirable when they are sat in the snow, but also heartbreaking.”
Her daughter, 21-year-old Ella, said: “All of the homeless people we spoke to didn’t want money, they just wanted someone to have a chat.
“Two minutes is not a lot of the day and it can make such a difference. I always try and stop and talk and buy them a coffee and some food.”
Mother and daughter also attended the recent solidarity sleep-out in Newbury.
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nicola-tomkins