Leicestershire funeral director’s drive to support homeless this Christmas leaves her ‘overwhelmed’ with support

A Leicestershire funeral director’s annual drive to support the homeless community over the festive period has seen her overwhelmed with donations despite current restrictions.

The local community in Oadby and Wigston, as well as friends, family and colleagues have gone above and beyond to support Central England Co-op Funeral Director Janette Macleod as she prepares to deliver more than 100 bags of provisions for homeless, former-military personnel and other homeless people across Leicestershire in the run-up to Christmas.

Janette, 53, who works at the funeral provider’s homes in The Parade, Oadby and Leicester Road, Wigston, began supporting Coalville-based charity Once, We Were Soldiers five years ago, along with husband Jon, who served in the Royal Signals for 12 years.

The charity helps and gives assistance to the homeless veterans on the streets of Leicester and those that are in sheltered accommodation who have very little help.

Janette said: “When I first began my collections, it started off as a Christmas Shoe Box appeal. Over the years, it has progressed much, much further to actually producing up to and sometimes over 100 individual bags to take to the streets of Leicester, and also hampers to provide for the veterans in sheltered accommodation.

“It is something I am incredibly passionate about – it breaks my heart to see people having to live on the streets so I am determined to do what I can to support.

“We provide in each bag, a set of toiletries which are completely essential to a person’s needs. Also dried, usable, food goods, sleeping bags, dog food, confectionary and any other essential like warm hats, scarves and gloves.

“Each year we have more and more donations, and everything that we can't use, goes to another charity called 'Open Hands' which is a charity that my parents support and are involved with - they are a compassion centre for the under-privileged.

“We also receive surplus extras like miniature toiletries that we send on to women's refuges to help with their needs.”

Janette wasn’t sure if she could do the appeal this year due to the pandemic as she didn’t think people would be able to make donations as easily but she has been ‘blown away’ by how people have supported the appeal.

She said: “The donations have solely relied on the generosity of our communities in Oadby, Wigston and extended towns that have heard about our appeal and wish to help. This has been completely overwhelming and the support from the local community has really touched my heart.

“It's been a very humbling experience and especially this year with the current pandemic and yet people have still incredibly supported me. Just this morning I received a massive donation from a friend of a colleague, and I was just sobbing when I saw it.

“I’m really thankful to my colleagues and my managers at Central England Co-op Funeralcare for supporting me in the appeal; it has been a huge help.”


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish.  

Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.4 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop