Joe and Luke's story


A group of people holding a Simon on the Streets sign in front of a table of food
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Last year, Joe and Luke sent us a letter through the post. Joe and Luke are currently residing at HMP Leeds and have created a group called System Grown with the aim of spreading kindness. They contacted us about an idea they had, a project to raise funds for Simon on the Streets.

Joe and Luke held a Christmas jumper design competition at HMP Leeds. To enter, participants donated to Simon on the Streets. This raised a total of £100 along with a collection of food donations for us to distribute to the homeless.

We are planning to have the winning designs printed on two t-shirts; one which we will give to the winner and the other to display on a notice board of the wing.

Below is a letter from Joe talking more about why helping the homeless is close to his heart.

A letter from Joe and Luke

“Hello, my name is Joe Outlaw and I am an IPP Prisoner currently residing at HMP Leeds. Myself and Luke, a fellow prisoner, decided that we wanted to come up with a way to give something back to the community and to try our best to make a difference.

There is so much pain and suffering in our world at the moment, so much sadness and hurt. Therefore, we set to show some kindness and love wherever possible and with that ‘System Grown’ was formed. What was just a little den, planned out on the wing between two inmates has now fed around 50 people homeless on the streets of West Yorkshire. System Grown has managed to build the link between homelessness and prison, providing help and support for all those people who sadly leave prison with no home or stability, inevitably to return to prison.

Thanks to the amazing work Simon on the Streets do, who dedicate their time to provide food, warmth, support, and care to all those suffering on the streets of West Yorkshire. It has been my pleasure to be involved with these people, it is not all mistakes that define us but our continued action afterwards that truly shows one’s character. All the people that Simon on the Streets work with on a daily basis, including myself have no doubt made many mistakes for whatever reason but there is not one single bit of judgement from Simon on the Streets. Nothing but love and kindness which in itself is a beautiful thing.

I will be looking forward to our next fundraiser and would like to say a big thank you to all the lads on A-wing at HMP Leeds for all their donations over Christmas. Also thank you to CM Kelly wing manager who has spent so much time to make everything possible and thanks to Gwendi Scott who gave me and Luke the permission to introduce System Grown to Leeds. Finally, thanks to my brother Luke and all involved at Simon on the Streets, it has been an amazing experience working with you. I’ll look forward to our next project. Love also to my Aunty who has been a real support. Take care and kindness to all – Joe & Luke.”

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