Socks and Chocs has not only helped those on the streets, but also those who give and donate.
There’s an 89 year old lady called Mary. For years, I have been visiting her for cups of tea. She doesn’t get out of her house much and she spends lots of time knitting hats for Romanian orphanages. When I told her about Socks and Chocs she started knitting hats and scarfs for us too. She has knitted 280 hats over the past three years.
I was traveling to work at 6am, thinking how unreasonable it was to be working at such an early hour. Then I came across a number of homeless people in a way I had never seen before – vulnerable, quiet, asleep and it broke my heart. That’s how I started my collection – a simple box collection at my workplace.
Following a traumatic event that I witnessed I became aware of just how vulnerable people who are homeless truly are. I was shocked to hear the stories and statistics of those that are homeless in this county in this day and age. I wanted to do something proactive to help and through reading about “Brums Busking Bobby” I became involved in Socks and Chocs. Being involved in this amazing cause has enabled me to channel my emotions and energy into something so positive and worthwhile.
My father was about to be evicted from his home, and made homeless. Rather than asking for help, his pride led him to end his life. I wasn’t able to do anything to help my father, but I wanted to be able to do something to help other people who were homeless and that’s when I found out about Socks and Chocs. I contacted Ian and I am now a central part of the Socks and Chocs team.
After an amazing meeting with my team last night I was buzzing as I walked to work. I passed this man who had found himself on the streets after domestic problems. We discussed things and he said he was suffering from trench foot. He loved the 2 pairs of socks, woolly hat, bar of chocolate and hand warmers I gave him. I also pointed in him the direction of help at Midland Heart and Sifa Fireside.
I was sat in a doorway in Wednesbury talking to 63 year old Chris this morning – a well known rough sleeper in the area. He’s a lovely man with not long to live he told me. I offered him socks, chocs and a sleeping bag but he seemed embarrassed at the thought. “Save them for those that really need them” he said. I managed to persuade him to have some socks as he “likes to travel light”. He accepted a referral to Street Link – “I’m getting old and it’s getting cold” he said. He gave me a big hug as I left him.
Omara organised and hosted a charity comedy evening on 17 Nov 14 at The Mono Bar, Arcadian, Birmingham. She raised over £1200 which will be spent on sleeping bags to help us reach our 1000 target for 2014. Well done Omara.
At Yumm Cafe, Custard Factory, Birmingham we are acting as a collection point for Socks & Chocs. We will take your collection and make sure it gets to Socks & Chocs for giving to a homeless centre. Thank You.
In 2014 I have been pleased to receive a UK Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister, a Diamond Award from WMP and an inaugural Pride of Birmingham Award. These awards were wonderful for me personally but were accepted as a celebration of the work of my close Socks & Chocs team; Rosie, Rob, Kate, Cathy, Lesley, Omara & Ness.
Kids at nursery are making up Christmas bags to give out to those less fortunate at our soup kitchen and the homeless on the streets of Birmingham over the next couple of weeks. This includes the Socks & Chocs that we’ve had off you guys.
I’m still collecting for you Ian. I have some more now. I love what you are doing and it is getting cold. It’s great to help. Can I meet up soon to give you the latest donations?
I first became aware of Socks & Chocs when I found a Youtube film of “The Busking Bobby” and I was so impressed by this that I painted his portrait as part of an upcoming exhibition Re-imaging Homelessness, which is to benefit Coffee 4 Craig, a charity working for the homeless in Manchester and Salford.
Hi my name is Lauren and I am 12, yesterday I passed a homeless man and I got really upset and cried. I was waiting for the bus with my mom and we had been Christmas shopping and had some candy canes. I grabbed a candy cane and gave it to the man but I want to do a lot more. I have advertised on a few buy it, sell it, swap it sites for blankets and hats gloves and scarves. Then my mom’s work friend tagged my mom onto this page and I want to know how I can help.
There seems to be growing numbers of homeless in Belfast and in Manchester so the needs are great and I thank Ian Northcott for being the inspiration behind so much community involvement. As he says it is about “Lots of people doing a little is better than a few doing a lot!” A simple act of kindness can mean a lot to those who receive the socks and chocs. One man I gave some to recently in Manchester said to me “Thank you for treating me like part of humanity.”.
Hello, our Business ************ solutions has bought socks instead of Christmas cards this year, we’re based in Birmingham, where’s the best place to drop them off? Thank you. (From Ian – this is just what we are trying to get people to do. Thank you so much).
I am a ward manager at Solihull hospital and the nursing staff are collecting socks and chocolates instead of giving Christmas cards and secret Santa. Once collected where would you like is to send them?
I first got involved with donating last year and have followed the progression on FB. Earlier this year, a young person I know was made homeless. I felt helpless. I guess I made a silent prmise to myself that I would do something to make a difference, even if just to that one person. I think it is quite easy to forget how blessed and fortunate you are when you get caught up in everyday life.
This is the first time I have been involved with Socks and Chocs and I am excited as my bag of goodies is building up. The reaction from people has been inspiring and I am looking forward to making Christmas happier and warmer than it otherwise would have been for quite a few people.
I first heard about Socks and chocs on the Express and Star Facebook site and I was intrigued. A few weeks later when I had a bit more time, I looked into it and thought wow this is such a great idea, something small that we can all get involved in and would make a difference. It really does show that lots of people doing a bit can go a long way. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in this collection, it is such a fab cause!
I am proud that in just three days my school has collected over 150 pairs of socks. I am really proud of my school friends helping my uncle to help the homeless. Isn’t it cool what we can do if we all do our little bit to help. Socks and Chocs rocks!
Bond Wolfe Charitable Trust are pleased to help “Socks and Chocs”.
The £500 will be spent on their target items.
We love how Socks and Chocs has helped people, and the stories & experience which have been shared. If you’ve got your own, please do get in touch, as we’d love to add it here!
Kitaid collect football kits form around the country and ship them to Africa. The children of Africa didn’t need socks, so Kitaid contacted us and now they donate 600-1000 pairs of socks every 2-3 months. The homeless people of Birmingham are all wearing football socks and baseball caps thanks to Kitaid.
A massive thank you to GFN Birmingham for working with us to produce this excellent website.
In 2017 we have paid rent for two homeless centres in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
We have also bought washing machines, driers and cookers for centres.
Socks and Chocs has also funded welcome packs for people when they get their first home as often they have nothing.