By Christian Lee
A Wortley fish and chip shop owner is aiming to “spread a little happiness” by running a campaign to collect Christmas gifts for older people.
Clarkies Fisheries, owned by Sarah Clarke, are collecting a range of items including food, chocolate, books and magazines and 2023 calendars.
The items will be donated to Armley Helping Hands who will create Christmas gift boxes that will be distributed to elderley and vulnerable people in Armley and Wortley on Christmas Day.
WLD spoke to Sarah Clarke about why she is doing the collection – now in its fourth year – and the importance of helping those in need.
“Some people don’t have family and are alone and they can’t get out of the house. It’s to help the community and help the elderley and vulnerable,” said Sarah.
“We want the boxes to be more of a treat rather than essential, and bring a little happiness to our older people. Dig out the old gift set items at the back of the wardrobe.”
Clarkies previously won an award, presented to them by MP Rachel Reeves, for their work in the community during the pandemic, which included producing over 8,000 portions of fish and chips that were delivered to older people.
Dawn Newsome, the CEO of Armley Helping Hands, said: “The Christmas boxes gives older people a sense of wellbeing. When you are isolated you can quickly feel there is no one in society for you.
“When you can take gifts that are donated by the general public they are overwhelmed that someone cares. It’s not always about finances, they have no relatives and can often live very institutionalised lives due to complex health needs.”
She also praised Clarkies for the work they have done to help those in need.
“They have been absolutely remarkable and Sarah has been so willing to work with us. She also keeps an eye on older people and if they don’t appear at the shop she will flag it to us,” said Ms Newsome.
To donate to the collection items can be dropped off at Clarkies Fisheries which is open Tuesday to Friday 11.30am-1.30pm and 4pm-7pm. They are also open on Saturday between 11.30am and 1.30pm.
You can check out the work done by Armley Helping Hands by visiting their Facebook page here.