Hats Off to Hats for the Homeless

“I just want to find a store where I can sell some cakes to raise money to buy hats for the homeless” said Anna Beswick, one of my closest friends.

She’s brilliant, we first got to know each other three years previously learning to snowboard in Poland. We bonded through that initial adversity – learning to snowboard is hard.

I think you’d like her ….she cares. She works in Leith for environmental charity SNIFFER but when she’s not studying climate models to inform the future infrastructure of Scotland in light of climate change predictions, she’s out on the streets of Leith seeing how people are, giving them a coffee and a bacon roll, listening to them. 

I wanted to help and thought of Rosie Lewis and the Village Store. It happens every Saturday between 10:00 -14:00 at the Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street. They sell local produce and I thought they might have space for some cakes for a good cause. I introduced Anna to Rosie who provided a store last weekend and even baked a cake to go on it! It seems in Leith, we do care.

I caught up with Anna to find out how the cake store went and to find out more about Hats for the Homeless:

So Anna, what is ‘Hats for the Homeless’ all about?

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all noticed that it’s been a bit chilly of late?  

Winter is a particularly hard time for people living on the streets of our city, many of whom don’t have warm and waterproof clothes and spend hours outside every day with no way of keeping warm. In order to help we’ve set up a campaign called ‘Hats for the Homeless’ and are aiming to provide hats, gloves and all things warm for as many people in need as possible.

That sounds fantastic, how’s it going so far?

We’ve been amazed by the generosity of local people including the lovely folk from Out of the Blue, who invited us to have a home baking stall at their Village Store on Saturday. 

Tell me more about the Village Store, how was that?

Taking part in the Village Store was great fun and as well as selling lots of cake and telling people about our campaign we also had the chance to learn more about some of the brilliant initiatives that take place at the hall, such as Tinker Tailor, the mending service where skilled craftspeople help you to mend bikes, bags, clothes and small electrical items. The Village Store also has what I reckon must be Edinburgh’s best and most exotic fruit and veg stall!     

So what will you do with the money raised, buy lots of hats?

The funds raised from our home baking stall will be used to buy new hats, gloves and warm clothes.

And how will you distribute hats to the homeless?

I’m part of a team of volunteers involved in social action. They head out during the day on Saturdays and on Wednesday and Thursday evenings too. There are plenty of people who need warm clothes.

Brilliant, I have a spare hat, how can I help?

That’s great, everyone can help with the campaign by donating any spare warm clothes, just drop them off at one of the Destiny Church Edinburgh buildings in the city:

Leith: 12 Casselbank Street, Edinburgh, EH6 5HA. Open 9 – 5 Mon – fri and 10 – 14:00 Sunday. Gorgie: 52 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2NB. Open 9 – 5 Mon to Friday and 9:00 – 21:00 Sunday.

You can email [email protected] and we’ll do our best to collect items from you.

There’s also a ‘Hats for the Homeless’ facebook page so you can find out more there, become a fan and pass it on.

Lastly Anna, what do you love about Leith? 

The distinct sense of community, interesting independent shops on the shore, the cameo bar and visiting you!

Written by Emily Dodd

  • http://www.michaeltraill.co.uk Michael Traill

    Interesting idea.

    Where can I donate online?

    £50 up for grabs on the condition that the money actually purchases hats, gloves, scarfs not towards staff expenses, office expenses etc;

  • Anna Beswick

    Hi Michael

    Thank you for your kind offer to donate money towards buying hats, gloves and scarfs. We've also had a few other people contact us keen to make donations online so I'm going to see about the best way of setting up an online donations page, maybe though just giving or similar. I'll update with another comment when this has been sorted. We're just a small group of friends running the campaign so no adimn or office costs.

    Thanks again for your support and interest


  • Anna Beswick

    Hey Michael,

    Sorry it's taken me ages to get back to you re. your kind offer to donate money online to help us but some more hats. I was hoping to set up an online giving page but unfortunately this hasn't been possible.

    If you would still like to make a donation then you could send a cheque payable to destiny church edinburgh to 12 casselbank street EH6 5HA, if you pop a note in with the cheque and say that the money is for hats for the homeless then they will get the cash to me and we'll use it for hats and gloves; however, I do realise that this is a lot of extra hassle for you so no worries if it's not possible.

    Thanks again for your support