The original van
Originally started in 2007 as Help in United Downs by Judy Backus to help those in need of urgent help with furniture and other items, Hidden Help became a registered charity in January 2021, supported by its Trustees and volunteers.
We believe that everything we need already exists within our community; we just have to find it and redistribute it. We collect donations of serviceable household goods which we are able to reuse, repair, up-cycle and then redistribute to those who are in urgent need who are referred to us.
Our "clients" are wide ranging, from single parent families escaping domestic abuse and leaving a shelter or hostel in the local area, to the elderly, vulnerable, long term sick, asylum seekers and ex offenders etc. We get referrals via social services and other local agencies who are best placed to identify the people we need to help.
We supply just about everything required to set up a home, since flats are often provided with nothing in them -not even curtains and carpets, beds or blankets.
We fill a gap and respond very quickly to client needs.
But we need your help to do it.
Our shop at Bissoe
Next door to our two warehouses we have set up a shop selling donated antiques in order to raise funds to pay for our warehouse rent and van etc. We are a low cost operation run by volunteers, with some admin and promotional support.
Our new van, bought with the help of a donor
About 15 years ago Judy was inspired by seeing an online story about a large shop in Poole, where Owen Brains collected furniture and white goods to sell. If you couldn’t afford what you needed, you could work in the recycling area. However, he was forced to close because of rent increases.
The idea remained, and Judy wondered if a similar concept could be started in Cornwall. She sold some jewellery, inherited from her grandmother, bought a second hand van, and found a small warehouse in Bissoe, where we still are, funded unwittingly by her husband;-)
She then started working with the refuge houses in Cornwall for both men and women. When they could, the men volunteered to come and help with the warehouse and with making deliveries. They loved it, and she heard some amazing stories from them.
Judy, aged 81, is still heading up the charity, supported by amazing volunteers, (even getting passing drivers to move mattresses), and of course, donations of items from the very supportive community in Cornwall.
And in the New Year's Honours 2023 she was awarded an MBE:-)
Chair of Trustees
Jake runs a sustainability consultancy called Empathy Sustainability, working in particular on net positive business models, carbon footprinting, and helping companies to become B Corps -Beneficial Corporations.
He lectures on a number of of sustainability subjects including plastics and ocean plastics.
Jake is also a trustee for the charity Cyclox.
HH processes and charity governance.
Facebook, social media and website support.
Merisa has worked in the overseas Christian charity sector for over 30 years, visiting remote hard-to-reach places such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Now living in Fowey she is currently working freelance and voluntarily in raising money for local initiatives. She is a trustee of SOMA UK, and has a heart for the poor – both locally and globally.
Marketing, communications, fundraising and PR.
Sinead has 20 years experience working with charities in London and Cornwall including The Big Issue, the Prison Reform Trust and the Cornwall Community Foundation, specializing in campaigning, media and events.
She currently works for Citizens Advice Cornwall and is also a Falmouth Primary Governor and a Penryn Town Councillor.
Sinead lives in Penryn and has been a Trustee since June 2021.
Media and copywriting.
Luke trained to become a Cabinet maker at Camborne College earning a City & Guilds Lv3, followed by a Degree in Furniture Design which led to a career in the Falmouth Marine Sector for 15 Yrs fitting out prestigious Bluewater Craft and building luxurious Tenders for the Super Yacht clients. he says "A life altering spinal injury has awarded me the opportunity to work along side the brilliant team at Hidden Help and the wonderful Judy Backus MBE for which I am particularly proud.
Side note, hard of hearing so please shout!"
After gaining a doctorate in molecular genetics, Steve subsequently spent the next 30 years working with pharmaceutical companies delivering functional and technical SAP business enterprise solutions worldwide. Retiring in 2017 he now spends his time as a treasurer to two churches and Hidden Help, as well as being a lay worship leader in his parish church. He likes nothing less than finding a problem and trying to fix it. This may or may not be useful.
Wendy gained the Higher Diploma in Administrative Procedures (The PA's Diploma) in 1990 and apart from five years teaching has worked in admin all her working life. Prior to joining Hidden Help, she spent eight years working for the local churches. She enjoys community life, having been part of various organisations and committees over the years. Wendy is also a trustee and Secretary of The Stithians Centre
Client and referring agency liaison, admin, Facebook etc etc
Fleur. Photo and bio to follow