Meet and Deep News Community Hub
2227. Shashi Patel
2228. Pallu Patel
Shashi and Pallu Patel, from Twickenham, are newsagents who for the last 40 years have opened up their shop every Christmas Day to support anyone in their local community who might be spending Christmas alone.
The couple decided to open their shop at Christmas after a man knocked on their door one Christmas morning, looking to purchase a top-up card for his mobile phone, so that he could call his family overseas and wish them a happy Christmas. Realising the positive effect of their actions, this led them to open up the shop for a few hours every Christmas, with no obligation for visitors to purchase anything.
Every year hundreds of people visit ‘Meet & Deep News’ on Christmas day, where the couple along with their sons Meeten and Deepen play Christmas carols, provide food and an opportunity for people to spend time with others. This year, after hearing from a few individuals who would be unable to visit the shop on Christmas Day due to health concerns, the family decided to host a Facebook live game show as well to allow everyone the chance to attend.
The shop, which is nicknamed ‘The Good Karma Shop’, organises a range of other community initiatives and charity fundraisers throughout the year. This included during the pandemic when the family ran a phoneline in the evenings for anyone who felt lonely. They now run a safe zone, book bank and most importantly they promote kindness to all, including animals, working closely with a local wildlife sanctuary to care for any injured and sick animals that are found by the local community.
In a personal letter to Shashi and Pallu, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“The festive period is a wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a time of loneliness and isolation. So I was touched to hear how every Christmas Day you open your doors to the local community, welcoming those who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone.
“The fact you have done this for 40 years is truly remarkable. With your charity fundraisers and social events, you bring hundreds of people together not just at Christmas but all throughout the year.”
Congratulating Shashi and Pallu on their award, Munira Wilson, Shashi and Pallu’s local MP for Twickenham, said:
“I am absolutely delighted for Shashi and Pallu Patel. They richly deserve this award for all they do to help local residents, support good causes and care for wildlife all year round. Their contribution and commitment to our community is immense. In particular, ensuring that people who might otherwise be lonely at Christmas can be with neighbours and join in the festivities at Meet & Deep is a measure of their compassion.”
The Patels said:
“As shopkeepers, we never thought that we would ever be in a position to positively influence so many different lives on a larger scale but receiving this award has enabled us to strengthen our belief that anyone in any occupation can promote compassion and kindness if they truly want to. And to start this, all that an individual needs is ears that can listen and a heart that cares.”