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Sick of the commercialisation surrounding Valentine’s Day, two siblings are urging Londoners to show “a different kind of love” ahead of 14 February by shunning a romantic bouquet or meal out in favour of an £8 Valentine’s pack for homeless people.
Josh Adley, 28, and Natasha Langleben, 32, set up non-profit Linkey in December 2017, which provides much-needed items to homeless shelters and rough sleepers.
Their Valentine’s packs, which are on sale now, contain a pair of thermal gloves, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel and deodorant. Once purchased, they will be delivered by the Linkey team to homeless shelters and rough sleepers around London at various ‘drop offs’ later this month.
The siblings run Linkey in their spare time while juggling full-time roles: Josh works for a production company and Natasha is a social worker. The pair were inspired to set up the non-profit after they encountered an elderly man who asked them where the nearest homeless shelter was. After a lot of Googling, they discovered there was nowhere open nearby for the man to stay.
“We bought him some food and tried to help him. It was really upsetting that we couldn’t do anything else,” Josh tells HuffPost UK. “Later that night I went home and filled my car with hats, gloves and warm items, and went to try and find the man. It was freezing and I was driving around for hours, but I couldn’t find him. I felt really guilty about going back to my nice warm bed while he was outside in the cold.”
From that day on Josh and Natasha vowed to do more to help rough sleepers and shortly after, on 27 December 2017, Linkey was born.
Earlier this year, figures showed the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of England reached 4,751, the highest number since current records began.
Josh and Natasha hope to encourage people to channel their frustration and anger at the UK’s growing homelessness problem into a small yet positive action. “A lot of people moan about Valentine’s Day being a commercial holiday,” Josh says. “If people feel some kind of duty to buy a Valentine’s Day present, they should buy something for someone who actually needs it instead. Give the gift of love to those who need it most.”
To buy a Valentine’s Day gift, visit the Linkey website.
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