A FAMILY who found themselves homeless have started their own food business and are offering hot meals to those living on the streets.
Just last year Ashley Faria and Lindsay Atkinson, age 23 and 39 respectively, were busy running their own pub and restaurant in Leicestershire, where they had moved to from Stratford.
They and their four teenage children loved their new home above the premises and were receiving rave reviews about the business.
But their luck was about to change after the owners sold up with no notice and gave the family just days to move out.
Ashley – who is step-father to Lindsay’s children – said: “We were promised everything we ever wanted so we packed up and moved to Leicestershire to start a new life.
“Everything was going great, the owners were friendly, the clientele were amazing and our dream was all falling into place. We turned the business around and increased the profits tenfold.
“Then at 5am one Saturday morning we received a text message from the owners saying they were at the airport leaving for a holiday and had sold the premises which we lived above.
“It said we had to leave and have all of our belongings gone by Wednesday.”
Ashley and Lindsay begged the owners to reconsider but had to face up to the reality of moving out.
They contacted various councils but none would accept responsibility for the family.
They were then forced to live in a tent at Dog Lane Fisheries in Napton, along with their children and pets – a dog, two hamsters and rabbit – while they waited for accommodation to be sorted.
After several days they were put into emergency housing in Stratford, where they lived for more than five months. They were given beds, and an oven but had to rely on family and friends to support them with other essential items.
Ashley and Lindsay have gradually got their lives back on track, and now live and work in Stratford, where they have opened DeSilva’s Mexican takeaway on Western Road, named after Ashley’s grandad.
And their turn of fortune means they are hoping to help those in a similar situation to the one they were once in.
They have begun a pending meal service, where a customer pays for an extra meal and it is then offered to someone living on the streets.
Ashley said: “Having been left homeless we can understand how difficult life can be for some people.
“Now our lives are getting back on track we want to help out those less fortunate.
“So far it is only ourselves who have donated meals but we are hoping to drum up community support. We are also in talks about buying some of the unused phone boxes in Stratford and using them as food donation serving points.”
Search for De-Silva’s Mexican Takeaway on facebook to find out more.