Housing

M&S takes Emma Willis to surprise Shelter helpline team at work

The former Big Brother presenter made Christmas come early for workers at the housing charity

Popular TV presenter Emma Willis made a surprise visit to emergency helpline workers at housing charity Shelter in Sheffield today.

She popped into the office on behalf of M&S, which is celebrating the 15th year of its partnership with the charity.

The former Big Brother presenter let the Shelter workers get a taste of the new M&S Christmas sandwiches – with five per cent of sales going straight to the charity – ahead of them going on sale to the public.

Emma Willis at Shelter

The partnership has raised more than £12m since 2005, with the equivalent of 27,000 helpline calls funded during last year’s campaign alone.

The helpline team took some time off the phones to meet Willis and speak to her about the important work they do, before the TV star sat in on a call to get first-hand experiences of what it takes to support people in need through the UK’s housing crisis.

Shelter Emergency Helpline manager Andrea Deakin said: “Seeing Emma Willis walk through our office doors is not a sight we’ll forget in a hurry, it was such a brilliant surprise. Our staff work on the helpline 365 days a year to help people trapped in the housing crisis, so for Emma to take time to come and see us was a huge boost.

“Emma’s visit was a timely reminder that the sale of M&S Christmas sandwiches directly funds our vital work – helping us to pick up the phone every day to families facing the horror of homelessness. We’re hugely grateful to M&S customers for the support they give to our emergency service.”

Emma Willis at Shelter

Shelter’s helpline is manned all year round and last year was able to help stop the eviction of 1,800 households.

After her visit, Willis said: “I feel like I’ve been enlightened today. Shelter covers a much broader range of services than I ever realised. It was truly humbling being able to sit in on a call and hear first-hand how the Shelter Emergency Helpline supports people in crisis.

“I feel like I came in to deliver Christmas sandwiches today and have come away learning so much more about Shelter, which is amazing as I now know when I’m buying a Christmas sandwich from M&S, I’m actually doing good too!”

The M&S festive lunch range launches tomorrow (October 30).

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