Gimme Shelter

Grasmere Gingerbread® raised £1,600 for Shelter, the charity that campaigns to end homelessness and bad housing in England and Scotland.

Appropriately, a cheque was presented to Sylvie Leonard, Shop Manager of Carlisle Shelter, outside The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop that, in 1854, solved one working-class family’s desperate housing crisis.

Then called Church Cottage, working-class cook Sarah Nelson, her husband and two young daughters met a Church of England tenancy criterion that reserved it for ‘a poor and needy family’.

“It was, literally, a godsend at a time when there was no decent social housing,” explained Joanne Hunter, a director of Grasmere Gingerbread®.

“Incredibly, within a few weeks of settling in and making the cottage a home, Sarah invented Grasmere Gingerbread® and secured her family’s immediate future.”

Last Christmas Grasmere Gingerbread® donated 50p from each festive mail order to raise money for Shelter.

“Recently, I’ve seen so much homelessness and rough sleeping on the streets of Manchester and London that I felt we must help Shelter with their incredible work,” explained Joanne.

Accepting the cheque, Sylvie Leonard, Shop Manager of Carlisle Shelter, explained how her charity helps people in need.

“This fantastic generosity by Grasmere Gingerbread® will help Shelter to make a real difference to a lot of lives through our advice, support and legal services,” she said.

“For example, £25 pays for face-to-face advice that can help a family avoid losing their home and £10 covers the cost of an urgent telephone call that could help someone to keep a roof over their heads.”

Sylvie warned that anybody could suddenly find themselves in difficulty.

“Just one event, such as losing your job, a serious illness or a relationship breakdown could cause your life to spiral out of control and within a few weeks you’ve lost your income and your home,” she explained.

Interestingly, Joanne’s own maternal grandmother Nanny Hunter was one of the first people to qualify for a council flat on Grasmere’s Easdale Road, Highfield Side, in the 1960s.

Her husband Jack had also suffered from homelessness; at one time sleeping rough in a church storage building and beneath a friend’s table in her cottage.