Aston Martin helps Warwick District homeless charity with new van

Aston Martin President and CEO Dr Andy Palmer, and Helping Hands director Lianne Kirkland.
Aston Martin President and CEO Dr Andy Palmer, and Helping Hands director Lianne Kirkland.

A car manufacturer has stepped up to help a homeless charity based in Leamington after their van was stolen.

Helping Hands works with vulnerable and homeless people in the Warwick district by providing much-needed help through a soup kitchen and skills training so that those in need can move forward in their lives.

The charity also helps vulnerable people who have moved into a new home with their ‘House2Home’ service, which provides household items that the tenants could not afford to buy themselves.

In November the charity took part in their ‘sleep out’ event, where they slept rough to help raise money for the homeless in the district.

The morning after the sleep out the volunteers, staff and people helped by the charity were all left devastated after their van was stolen.

Lianne Kirkman, Helping Hands director, said: “We had just done the sleep out in November and we used the van to collect all the cardboard we had used and it was parked up. In the morning it had gone and we couldn’t believe it.

“It meant we had to cancel all our jobs for a few weeks and then we had a temporary van.”

The charity used the van for collecting and delivering furniture.

After months of hiring vans Aston Martin, which is based in Gaydon, offered to help Helping Hands.

Lianne said: “Aston Martin got in contact with us and said they wanted to give us a van and asked what would be ideal. When we went to Aston Martin in February I saw the van I got quite emotional because they had branded it. It is better than what we had before and it is absolutely what we needed to continue our work.

“The van is vital to our work and it means so much that we can continue what we are doing and that we can expand as it is a bigger van.

“We are just absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of Aston Martin and they said they are going to support us for the year too.”

The car manufacturer formed the partnership with Helping Hands as part of their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The partnership was developed after the charity and the company were introduction by the Stratford and Leamington Business Forum and by the Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi.

Aston Martin president and chief executive officer Dr Andy Palmer said: “As a company we have an ongoing commitment to CSR and supporting the communities in which we operate are very much a part of this.

“Helping Hands is an excellent local charity, making a real difference in people’s lives and we are delighted to were able to support.”

Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi said: “I am delighted to have played a small part in linking these two excellent local organisations and to see this partnership come to fruition.”

Last week the Courier ran a story where Helping Hands were appealing for help in finding a new home for their ‘House2Home’ service after they found out that they will no longer be able to use a site at Stoneleigh Park.

Lianne said: “We have had some kind people get in touch but so far we have not found anything practical yet.”

To get in touch with Helping Hands call 01926 732118 or email helpinghandslwk@gmail.com.