A group of volunteers is donating hampers of food to hungry families across Greater Manchester this Diwali to spread positivity and light as the festival takes place.
The festival of light falls on Thursday, 4 November this year, and is celebrated by a number of religions including Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.
The group – known as the Diwali Basket Brigade – comes together every year during the festival to prepare, pack and deliver hampers to struggling families living on the poverty line.
This year, it has delivered over 2,500 to people in Greater Manchester, London, and Birmingham.
Each hamper is funded by donations, filled with £10 worth of essentials and other foodie items. Hampers are loaded with healthy veggie food, a handmade Diwali card, a Diwali ‘Diya’ candle, sanitary and hygiene products.
The initiative has a simple aim: to provide food hampers to socially deprived and vulnerable households from all faiths and backgrounds ahead of the festival of Diwali.
“DBB is our small effort to support and spread the message of hope, happiness, and giving to those in need from all faiths and backgrounds,” says founder Deepak Parekh.
“Diwali is a time of celebration and happiness. However, unfortunately, there are many people in our communities who, for whatever reason, don’t have much to cheer about.
“Some families struggle to make ends meet, others are simply feeling lonely or rejected by society.”
To date, over £30,000 has been raised for the cause.
Last year, the Diwali Brigade partnered with 25 different food banks and charities, including Salford Food Bank, and in 2020 alone managed to send out 35,000 meals.
Speaking on his decision to found the charity back in 2018, founder Deepak Parekh said, “Having followed the work of Tony Robbins for many years, I was inspired to volunteer at an event which he established several years ago, called the Christmas Basket Brigade, delivering food hampers to families in need, on the eve of Christmas.
“Following attendance to the first such event in December 2015, I felt it would be just as beneficial to organise a similar event, to celebrate the auspicious festival of Diwali and spreading the message of hope and giving.”
Following a serious back injury that left him confined to lying down for 6 months, Deepak had plenty of time to think. This was the impetus that pushed him to make headway on the project.
“It was not until I was forced to take time out of my busy life, of work and family, that I decided to put my idea into action through organising the first Diwali Basket Brigade event,” he explains.
“This took place on October 14th 2018, where a group of over 200 volunteers came together at the Balaji Temple, in Birmingham to prepare, pack and personally deliver over 350 food hampers to the doorsteps of families in need. In 2019, we collectively packed and delivered over 500 food hampers.
“The event has grown from strength to strength, and our ambition is to deliver as many food hampers as we possibly can to families of all faiths and backgrounds across the UK.”
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.