2023 has been a year of collective strength. We’ve journeyed through difficult terrain and remain there still. In the face of adversity, we’ve stayed strong, but even to sustain such strength we have gets heavy. After all, we are human. The pain and injustices that our brothers and sisters are facing around the world is heartbreaking to witness, and we end our year with it imprinted in our hearts and minds.

The lessons that we’ve learnt in the past few years guide us through the pain of the present. Just as every storm leads to a calm, we continue onwards, praying and certain in our faith, that our Creator is the Most Just and Kind. 

As a charity, the work we do on a day-to-day basis lifts the burden of families right here in the UK. Even when the world feels too heavy to bear, we’re reminded of the bond between believers because of your generosity. 

To end the year, we’re going to recap on the strength, generosity and commitment that you have shown towards our families. You’ve given our families hope in the darkest of times, and both us and them are forever grateful.

Walking into a fresh start

If you’re a Londoner, you would have heard of or been to Hampstead Heath. Those that joined us for our annual Winter Walk certainly did revel in its beauty. They immersed themselves in green, and kicked things off the right way in January. 109 people joined us, and raised an impressive £15470.

The cold didn’t deter them. They wrapped up warm, and embraced the steps to raise funds for our families. We can’t forget our Northern supporters – 40 of whom got moving, and walked for HHUGS families in February at St Ives Estate, raising £5290.

We’re only able to continue our work because of how proactive our supporters are. By joining our Winter Walk, crucial funds were raised so that individuals who are marganlised and forgotten have somewhere to turn to.

“As a recipient, I can attest that HHUGS, not only eases the strain of tough times, but also restores faith in humanity. Their compassion and dedication make a tangible, positive impact on lives. Grateful for the invaluable support they provide.”

If you would like to join our Winter Walk for this year, then you’ve still got a chance to sign up here.

The Gift of Warmth

Your support during Winter didn’t stop at the Winter Walk. Thanks to your generous donations and your fundraising efforts over the Winter months, you gave £43,883 to enable HHUGS families to survive the Winter chill.

Your generous support has alleviated the harsh effects of this season.  You have helped remove the anxiety around Winter for those who could not afford to protect themselves adequately against it.

HHUGS distributed £219,529 support to families, adults and children last Winter:

  • £28,502 in fuel support for 44 families in need.
  • £19,767, providing 61 families with clothing vouchers.
  • £494 providing 33 families with draught excluders to protect their homes against the chill.
  • £767 to maximise energy efficiency for 34 homes by providing radiator reflectors
  • £1032 to provide 24 families with heaters
  • £1600 to protect 37 families with winter duvets
  • £29,756 to shelter 12 families throughout the Winter.
  • £102,901 to feed 70 families during the Winter months.
  • £34,709 to relieve their debts in this period.

“ The winter support has taken the stress of winter off our shoulders, the kids can keep warm with both warm clothes and having the heaters on. Before we had to monitor the meters and only turn it on when it was completely freezing.”

Setting the mood for Ramadhan

 “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha‘ban is my month and Ramadhan is the month of my Ummah.” (as-Suyuti, Al-Jami).

In both Rajab and Sha’ban, the month of Allah, and his beloved Prophet (saw), we pay close attention to our actions and intentions, especially with it falling just before the auspicious month of Ramadhan.

Some reserve their generosity for Ramadhan, knowing that their good deeds are multiplied, but our supporters still gave during these sacred months. Our families are in need even prior to Ramadhan. They too need to prepare for the month, and your support and commitment to helping them feel the joy spoke volumes.

In both Rajab and Sha’ban, we raised shy of £20,000! To help HHUGS families prepare for the Ramadhan, and experience the sweetness of the month, you gifted them Ramadhan gift boxes. You provided:

  • 352 adults and 186 children with Ramadhan gift boxes
  • £6660 of Ramadhan food packs, distributed to 68 households at the start of the month

“I have a heavy heart around Ramadhan but I try my best to not show it so that my daughter has a happy experience. I honestly think the HHUGS Ramadhan packs lift the heaviness for me. It reminds me I’m not alone. Alhamdulillah.”

Reigniting Ramadhan

Ramadhan is a time to look inwards, and most of us are focused on own families and loved ones. But it’s more touching when, during such times, that our supporters dig deep and help our families.

The nature of our work is unique, and the individuals that we reach are those that are forgotten. During Ramadhan, they don’t feel as though they are remembered by the Ummah, but we’ve changed that together.

You gave an impressive £681,579 to answer the du’as of the distressed families and allow them to taste the sweetness of this month.

To mark the end of the auspicious month and prepare for the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, you gave £11220 in the form of gift vouchers distributed to 367 adults and 194 children so they could share in the delight of Eid.

An Eid Extravaganza!

If you’re familiar with HHUGS, you may have heard that we like to throw a good Eid party. Our families deserve a safe space where they can feel the joy of Eid and celebrate with their families.

We hosted Eid parties in London, Birmingham and Bradford. It gave us a chance to uplift them, and bring a smile to young faces.

It was a great turnout, providing community and joy:

  • 160 attendees in London: 53 women, 25 men and 82 children
  • 75 attendees in the North: 22 women 15 men and 38 children
  • 60 attendees in Birmingham: 27 women, 11 men and 22 children

“I made dua to finally attend a HUGGS gathering & I remember the sister hugging me, it was such a relief, a whole family for the sake of Allah in a matter of seconds. I cried. It was a wholesome moment.”

Behind all the glitter and sparkles, an Eid party is thrown for people to connect. Our families are grateful for being able to switch off for a few hours and be a part of something bigger.

You chose to do it differently

There was an option for you to do your Qurbani in a simpler, cheaper and easier manner, but you chose to do something different. Thanks to you, 2057.5kg of mutton was distributed to 745 people – 491 adults and 255 children – in 144 HHUGS’ households, during special seasons, when HHUGS’ families feel the isolation more than ever.

“Jazakallahu khairan for the extremely generous gift of Qurbani to our family yesterday. We will be sharing with all the family over the coming months and we are all very grateful.”

Alongside the gift of Qurbani, we were able to deliver a bundle of love for our families. Whilst you celebrated with your loved ones, you didn’t forget about HHUGS families. Because of your generous donations of £6881, we could provide 183 families, comprising of 402 adults and 211 children, with treats for Eid.

“I made dua to finally attend a HUGGS gathering & I remember the sister hugging me, it was such a relief, a whole family for the sake of Allah in a matter of seconds. I cried. It was a wholesome moment.”

Creating waves whilst making history

As Summer hit, we participated once again in the Al-Noor Boat Race at Fairlop Waters, and could make history because of you!

We had two crews representing us on the day – a male and a female team, each with 20 people. Our teams didn’t only paddle for victory, but also to raise funds for a cause that’s close to their hearts. They raised an impressive £11,965 combined, with the brothers raising £2,553 and the sisters raising a whopping £9,412.

We’re proud to say that the sisters didn’t only excel in fundraising but also in the race. They made it to the semi-finals and secured third place in their final round, making history for the HHUGS team.

One of the sisters who took part shares her experience of the race “It was lovely, alhamdulillah, and I’d love to do it again – it’s such a great opportunity to meet other sisters, take on a challenge, and raise money for an amazing cause. I was so proud of the effort we all put in for this cause and on the boat, after the race you could feel that joy from completing it.”

A visit to the animal kingdom

We decided to invite our families for a day out at London Zoo during the summer holidays, as a belated Eid celebration. Over 127 people attended our day out, including 67 children and 60 adults all ready to immerse themselves in the animal world.

Our families aren’t presented with many opportunities to immerse themselves in a nurturing environment, able to create new memories, and take their minds off their daily lives. But because of your generous support, we could give them that opportunity.

“That was the most beautiful day of the year I’ve had with my daughter. JazakAllah HHUGS, and may Allah bless you.”

Giving them the best start this September 

 “With the cost of living crisis, on top of trying to manage everything as a second mum, with a teenager whose needs increase all the time, it isn’t easy. Alhamdulillah, support like this makes a world of difference for us.”

You showed up and supported these children to stand tall this September. You donated £14,826, enabling us to provide a total of £17,220, to support 52 families, with a total of 130 children.

Your donations enabled us to provide:

  • £13290 on uniforms, to ensure children had the correct uniform in their size so they weren’t subject to bullying.
  • £3930 on essential stationery – ensuring children have they what they required for the academic year ahead

Bulls-eye for HHUGS

This October, a group of 28 sisters were brave enough to take part in the HHUGS Sisters’ Combat Archery Challenge, to both have a great time, and raise much-needed funds for our families.

Together, they successfully raised a whopping £9020.

A sister shares her experience of taking part:
“Seeing all the sisters become so competitive (in a good way)!  Everyone was so fired up which made the experience so much more fun.”

In the throes of Winter

When we look back, we must also look ahead. As the new year approaches, the weather dips. We’re currently amid the chilly season, and families are struggling to cope with the demands of the season.

So far, thanks to your generosity, from October until present, we’ve been able support 52 individuals through Winter by distributing: 

– £15,030 to help provide warmer clothing  
–  £2,054 to keep them warm in their homes 

We still need your help to reach our target. We can’t do it without you!

Give WARM HHUGS this Winter

To 2024..

It’s difficult to remain hopeful when you’re unable to see the softness of humanity in your daily life. But time waits for no man, and 2024 will invite itself in, even if we aren’t ready to welcome it. Even if the world as a whole, or you, as an individual, aren’t where you want it to be as the clock strikes midnight, the pressure to be in a perfect world, with a perfect is an image too costly to retain.

The world as we know it is always changing, and will be forever changed as events unfold and morph. Our connection to each other, our generosity, compassion and tokens of mercy are what keeps us spinning.

We would like to express our gratitude to all who played a role—those who extended a helping hand, offered a sympathetic ear, contributed from their hearts and pockets, amplified the voices of our families, and participated, whether virtually or in person.

Let’s continue this shared journey of making a positive impact. To everyone who has been part of this incredible journey. JazakaAllah Khairan for being the driving force behind our mission to change lives.

May the year ahead heal your wounds those which are spoken and silent. May you draw closer to Him, and may He connect us both in this world and the next. Ameen