Zishan Fazal, a student at the University of Derby, set up Project TouchDown in October 2014 after speaking to a homeless man in Derby city centre. Zishan decided to start up a weekly project to provide food, clothes and other items to Derby's homeless community.
Project TouchDown applied to the Community Fund to help cover the costs of organising a Christmas meal for the homeless in St Peter's Church, Derby.
How did the Community Fund help?
The Community Fund awarded £300 to Project TouchDown to help with the Christmas meal and ongoing support for the needy.
Zishan Fazal said: "Project TouchDown is all about supporting the homeless and the needy, who are either sleeping on the street, or who need extra food or clothes.
"I’d like to bring the community together as one; humanity is about sticking by one another and offering support. You never know when you’ll need help yourself.
"The idea came to me one night when I was studying late and decided to go to McDonalds. I saw a homeless man sitting outside and so I decided to have a chat with him. He told me his story about how he ended up on the street and so I decided to do something to help. I went from there and started the project in October last year (2014).
"I think everyone needs help in one way or another. Some people need food, others need housing. What we can do is help with food, clothes and somewhere to stay. Everyone has a need and we need to listen to each other.
"I’d like to bring the community together as one; humanity is about sticking by one another and offering support. You never know when you’ll need help yourself."
"We run sessions for the homeless every Thursday but this event is the second of its type that we’ve done. The first one was during Eid and I decided to celebrate it with the homeless and needy. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but I thought it would be nice to help the homeless celebrate it. So last night we prepared a Christmas meal to make them feel like they’re really celebrating it. We also gave out presents, sleeping bags and clothes.
"We had about 20 volunteers helping out last night, but there are loads of other people who play their part, donating food and money - even dropping off the food. I’d have to say, without them this project would be nothing.
"The University of Derby’s Community Fund has helped us out quite a bit on this project. I’ve been able to order some more food, disposable plates, extra sleeping bags and coats. The money will also help towards our regular sessions, which we run every Thursday, so that money has been a big help."