Readers’ letters - December 18

The British Heart Foundation is calling for cyclists to join its bike ride challenge

The British Heart Foundation is calling for cyclists to join its bike ride challenge

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Helping the homeless

As an architect, I know that buildings mean much more than just bricks and mortar, with none more important than the building we call home – especially at Christmas time. There’s nothing more magical than spending the day with my children and the people who matter most to me, in a home that could almost be a part of our family itself.

That’s why it’s heart-breaking to know that 1,100 children in the North West will be homeless this Christmas.

They are among the 100,000 homeless children in Britain right now.

Thankfully these children aren’t on the streets, but living in temporary accommodation, which means they don’t have a stable or safe place to call home.

Many of them will be sharing a single room of a cramped hostel or B&B with their whole family, sharing facilities with strangers and with no space for a tree, or even to eat Christmas dinner.

Luckily Shelter is here so that nobody has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own, which is why I’m proud to support them. But sadly, as more and more families struggle to keep a roof over their heads, Shelter’s advisers are now bracing themselves for even more calls for help.

Marks & Spencer has supported Shelter for the last ten years, and this year they will be donating five per cent from each product sold through its Christmas Food on the Move range directly to Shelter’s helpline.

Something as simple as a sandwich really can make a huge difference to the thousands of people fighting to keep a roof over their heads this Christmas.

So please, treat yourself to a festive Food on the Move lunch at M&S and help Shelter to be there for everyone who needs them.

George Clarke via email

Helping the homeless

I am calling upon your readers to sign up for the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) annual London to Brighton Bike Ride on Sunday, June 19, and help fight back against cardiovascular disease which is responsible for a quarter of all UK deaths.

There are currently around 900,000 people living with these conditions in the North West and it is responsible for over 18,700 deaths each year. To date BHF research has helped halve death rates from heart and circulatory disease over the past 50 years.

However, there is still a long way to go, across the UK there are seven million people living with these conditions but, thanks to the public’s generosity, the BHF can continue to fund essential research.

Last year, the amazing fundraisers who took on the 54-mile cycle challenge helped raise over £3m for the BHF’s vital research into heart disease. This year we want to raise even more. By signing up to the bike ride, the money you help raise will fund the BHF’s research to improve the lives of those affected by heart disease every day.

Registration is now open for Europe’s largest and oldest charity bike ride. The famous ride welcomes around 25,000 cyclists on a journey from city to sea. Stretching over 54 miles through countryside, cyclists will leave the bright lights of the capital before finishing at Brighton’s famous sea front. The ride is suitable for all abilities aged 14 and over.

To help the BHF fund discoveries, we ask all riders to pledge a minimum of £200 sponsorship. The best way to raise money is to set up an online fundraising page, such as JustGiving. Entry fees will be £40 for adults and £35 for under 18s. Visit www.bhf.org.uk/events or call the events team on 0300 456 8355.

Nancy Smyth,

Head of Events

British Heart Foundation