Meaningful support and long term hope

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer. Picture: Julian Claxton

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer. Picture: Julian Claxton - Credit: Archant

Next week, November 1, marks the start of the Waveney wide Thin Ice Project.

It's a new approach to supporting those that are most vulnerable during our winter months and has two very simple objectives: to ensure that every effort is made to engage individuals with support services during the winter months and; to ensure no one dies on the streets during severe winter.

The beauty of working in partnership with Waveney District Council, Lowestoft Rising and Lowestoft Foodbank is that we can work constructively with the risks and vulnerabilities that people present with, responding on a case by case basis - not giving a one size fits all service.

According to the latest UK figures, collected in the autumn of 2017 and published in January 2018, 4,751 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night throughout the country.

Since 2010 rough sleeping has increased by 169 per cent, and I am sure you will all be familiar with the most recent headlines detailing that in 2017 there was more than one death per week of a rough sleeper. Challenging times indeed then.

Thin Ice provides an opportunity to engage with individuals who may have been reluctant to accept support in the past or people new to the streets where a connection to services can prevent situations from getting worse.

Being mindful of some of the statistics that sit behind homelessness – for example 72pc have a mental health issue, 56pc have long term physical health issues – means that to truly offer meaningful support and long term hope, we need to do this together.

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You can help us by volunteering your time to answer our helpline, donating staples such as sugar, tea and coffee to the Foodbank or donating to our appeal that is raising money for long term support services.

You can contact me via email on and donate

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