Leave a Light On
1407. Richard Francis
Richard Francis, from Cumbria, set up 24-hour helpline, ‘Leave A Light On’, to help over 2,000 people in Penrith and Carlisle during the pandemic with distributions of food and essential items.
Richard is a long-standing community campaigner, who previously supported victims of flooding in Carlisle in 2016. As well as distributing hampers of donated goods to those in need during COVID-19, Richard’s helpline is also signposting those are vulnerable and feel isolated towards further support services.
In a personal letter to Richard, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for remarkable people like yourself who freely give up your time to improve the lives of others. By setting up ‘Leave A Light On’, you have brightened thousands of people’s days during their darkest hours.
“Your work to bring together teachers, counsellors and finance professionals to support the Cumbrian community with advice and grocery essentials is remarkable. Also, your work to improve the homes of those returning from hospital shows how small acts of kindness have a huge impact on people’s lives.”
John Stevenson, Richard’s local MP for Carlisle, said:
“Richard’s incredible work has helped thousands of people in our county during these very difficult times.
“Leave a Light On has helped people through all manner of difficulties during this pandemic, and I fully applaud him on his work.
“It is individuals like Richard who will see Carlisle and Cumbria get through this crisis, and he deserves all the credit for this initiative.”
“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive the Points of Light Award. It has been a real achievement and pleasure for ‘Leave A Light On’ to have helped and supported so many people during this pandemic.
“We never envisaged the group would accomplish all that it has, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our community. We are grateful that our efforts have been recognised beyond the county of Cumbria.”