Crowdfunding convert fundraises £400 for Golders Green café

Leonie Lewis and Sara Conway

Leonie Lewis (l) launched her new book The Tin Lady, pictured with Hampstead Garden Suburb resident Alison Richardson and Cllr Sara Conway (r) - Credit: Leonie Lewis

A volunteering expert has raised more than £400 for a Golders Green café during the launch of her new book. 

Former director of the Jewish Volunteering Network, Leonie Lewis MBE, recently held an event for The Tin Lady at Head Room Café. 

Speakers included Laurie Rackind, chief executive of mental health charity Jami, and Barnet councillor Sara Conway.

The not-for-profit book, which was published in July, is raising money for learning disability charity Harrow Mencap, with additional funds also going towards other charities at book launches. 

Leonie Lewis at Headspace

Author Leonie Lewis spoke at Headspace café last month, alongside Laurie Rackind (r) and Cllr Sara Conway (l) - Credit: Leonie Lewis

Leonie has been fundraising for Harrow Mencap for almost 11 years, and the book explores her experiences of collecting money during the pandemic. 

The author told the Ham&High: “Until Covid, it was very common for collectors to stand around supermarkets. 

“But now it’s more difficult, as supermarkets are trying to minimise people hanging around in their shops. During Covid restrictions, it was even more complicated. 

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“I had to wear a facemask, which made it difficult to speak with people. I couldn’t see them behind the mask, and they couldn’t see me. It makes it much harder.” 

Dalia Cramer, Irene Leeman & Ruth Warrens

Guests Dalia Cramer (l), Irene Leeman and Ruth Warrens (r) attended the launch - Credit: Leonie Lewis

The grandmother-of-eight has worked in the voluntary sector for more than 30 years, and explained she began collecting to gain a different type of experience. 

“I was out doing my supermarket shopping one day, and was trying to avoid the man from Mencap waving a tin by the door,” she laughed. 

“When I was leaving, I hoped he would be gone, but he was still there and we began speaking. I was put on the spot.” 

The charity consultant and Pinner resident then began collecting for the charity herself. She also helps people with learning difficulties through fundraising. 

The Tin Lady includes her memories of meeting a former Broadmoor Hospital psychiatrist who worked at the high-security facility. 

“A man approached me one day and donated £10, which is a very high sum, and then another £10 the following week,” Leonie recalled. 

Leonie Lewis book

The Tiny Lady explores Leonie's experiences of working in the charity sector and gives practical advice on volunteering - Credit: Leonie Lewis

“He told me about his background, and I think he felt very upset about what had happened, and wanted to acknowledge that by giving back.” 

Leonie's book, launched in Golders Green on August 12, covers practical tips for people working in charities. 

This includes how to recruit new volunteers, what the law says about collecting in public places, and what the future holds for the voluntary sector.