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Selfless volunteers extend helping hand to town’s homeless community

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 April 2018

Ebony Salter (left) Stacey Drennan and Donna Salter from the Help Us Help Them volunteer group. Picture: Nick Butcher

Ebony Salter (left) Stacey Drennan and Donna Salter from the Help Us Help Them volunteer group. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A group of volunteers have been doing their bit to help those sleeping on their town’s streets during the winter months.

Stacey Drennan from the Help Us Help Them volunteer group. Picture: Nick ButcherStacey Drennan from the Help Us Help Them volunteer group. Picture: Nick Butcher

Help Us Help Them was established back in December, with the goal of providing Lowestoft’s homeless community with the basic amenities they require in order to survive.

The idea was the brainchild of Stacey Drennan and his partner Donna Salter, who have enlisted volunteers to hand out hot food and drinks, clothing and sleeping bags to those on the streets.

Their kindness has even included paying for rough sleepers to temporarily stay in hotel accommodation amid bitter temperatures.

“Helping the homeless is something Donna and I have wanted to do for ages,” said Mr Drennan. “One evening just before Christmas we were sitting at home and it was freezing cold outside, so I said ‘come on let’s go out there.’

Stacey Drennan from the Help Us Help Them volunteer group. Picture: Nick ButcherStacey Drennan from the Help Us Help Them volunteer group. Picture: Nick Butcher

“It started out as the two of us going out two or three times a week handing out hot drinks and sleeping bags, but things have snowballed from there and now there are at least six regular volunteers.

“Our Facebook page has been going crazy with interaction, too; I’m completely surprised by how much the group has grown.”

Over the past few months, members of Help Us Help Them have been meeting every Wednesday evening at Lowestoft train station to extend a helping hand.

Anyone can volunteer and, on the first Wednesday of every month, the group join forces with Shake and Cake in the Britten Centre, who offer their premises for the homeless to enjoy a hot drink and food.

Mr Drennan believes the town’s homelessness situation has worsened in recent months, but says he has been overwhelmed by the extent to which volunteers have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

“In Lowestoft the homelessness problem seems to be getting a lot worse from what I’ve seen,” he added.

“There are all kinds of reasons for these people finding themselves on the streets, but they’re like you and I; they just want a chat and they’re grateful for any help they can possibly get.

“The community really has come together during the cold weather and I couldn’t ask for a better group of volunteers.”

Visit the Help Us Help Them Facebook page for more information.

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