When Beverley chef John Robinson got married four years ago he had a wedding gift with a difference for his new wife, Liz.
Using her maiden name, John, who owns and runs Whites Restaurant in North Bar Without, Beverley, had set up the Tyas Foundation, a charity to help vulnerable children across East Yorkshire.
The Tyas Foundation is run by John and Liz and a board of trustees and raises money by organising events and then distributing the proceeds to local children nominated for treats. Their focus is on vulnerable children in East Yorkshire who need support for varying reasons.
So far they have given away thousands of pounds in treats, ranging from mini holidays, days out, disability swings and pamper days.
His latest initiative is to launch a Christmas toys appeal, with the aim of spreading a little local joy to children in foster care.
The toys appeal was launched this week, with collection points at the restaurant, at Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church. John explained: “There are over 700 children in foster care in Hull alone so we aim to just help bring a smile to these children’s faces who have already been through so much. Ages range from babies to 18-year-olds, so anything apart from food would be greatly appreciated.”
He continued: “We are hoping we get so many presents that we are able to help some other children as well, such as those in other vulnerable situations such as poverty and illness. We just aim to bring a little happiness to as many people’s lives as possible.
“The foster carers do a great job so we want to acknowledge that and we hope that by receiving an extra gift from our charity it will help them enjoy Christmas even more and make them realise that no matter what they have been through that people care and there is always someone thinking about them.
“Running a local business is great but that in turn gives me a responsibility to give something back,” says John, who has been chef/patron of Whites in Beverley for the past nine years. It remains the town’s only restaurant listed in the Good Food Guide and Michelin Guide.
“I feel it’s very easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and forget that some people are less fortunate, be it financially, in terms of health, or without the support of family and friends.
“The charity was set up as a wedding gift to my wife, whose maiden name is Tyas, as we wanted a way to give to charity but to be in control of where the funds were going and to help make a real difference to individual’s lives.”
Instead of asking for wedding gifts on their big day, John and Liz asked for donations to their new charity. The couple also provided all the food and drinks for the bar, in return for donations and received more than £800 to kick-start the charity.