Who will support the homeless this Christmas - and how you can help

Charities, community groups and churches will come together on Christmas to support rough sleepers a

Charities, community groups and churches will come together on Christmas to support rough sleepers and those in need. Photo: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

While homelessness is a year-round problem, it is thrust into focus over the Christmas period.

A time that for many of us is spent with family, eating to excess and unwrapping presents can be a lonely, frightening period for those in need.

But charities, churches and communities around Norfolk will come together over the festive season to support rough sleepers and those in need.

For St Martins Housing Trust, based in Norwich, it will be business as usual.

On Facebook, they said: 'We keep working over Christmas - our hostel is open 24/7, we have maintenance staff on calls and chefs, cleaners and support workers who work shifts throughout the holidays.

'To us, it's more than a job - it's a passion.'

They said hampers and fresh goods had been delivered to families in need last week, and they would be signposting rough sleepers to one of the many lunches being held in the city on Christmas Day and in the following days.

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They include the Norwich Open Christmas, which will be held once again in St Andrew's Hall in the city centre.

The long-running event, which attracts hundreds every year, runs from 11am to 5pm. To find out more about attending, click here.

Elsewhere, a lunch run by the Salvation Army Norwich at 34 St Giles Street will be held from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

At the Boundary Pub, on Aylsham Road in Norwich, landlord Jonathan Childs will be offering to cook a free dinner for those in need.

MORE: 12 ways you can do your bit for charity this Christmas - and you don't have to spend a penny

And at Namaste Village, on Queens Road, the team will be offering a free Indian meal to about 150 homeless people.

In Great Yarmouth, an Open Christmas event offering a traditional Christmas dinner to those who are homeless or struggling to make ends meet will be held at the Marina Complex on the seafront.

For more information on the lunch, click here.

The Living Room project, a shelter based in Great Yarmouth, has extended its opening days for Christmas, going beyond its usual Friday to Sunday.

Those interested in finding out more about support from the shelter over the coming weeks can self-refer, by calling 07724303310.

And in King's Lynn, the town night shelter - based at St Ann's Fort - will be operating as usual, offering those a chance staying to do their laundry, have a hot meal, a bed to sleep in and a warm shower.

While some of its places are filled by those referred on by agencies, they save some for people who come to the centre.

On Facebook, they said: 'It's Christmas Eve! The Night Shelter doors are open tonight and every night this week for guests in need: if you see someone homeless today, let them know.

'There was once a family in need of room at the inn on Christmas Eve: may the love of God who was homeless for us be with all our guests, volunteers and friends tonight and all this Christmas season.'

Churches in the town will be offering a free hot lunch to those in need, including St Johns Catholic Church on London Road.

How to donate

There are plenty of charities in need of support.

• To help St Martins Housing Trust, click here for more information on donating and here to find information on items they need. It includes items such as pillows, towels, plates, cutlery and tinned food.

• To donate to the Purfleet Trust, which is based in King's Lynn and runs the night shelter, click here.

• You can also support national charity Crisis, by visiting their website here.

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