More than �75,000 raised for Norfolk housing charity

More than �75,000 has been raised for a Norfolk charity that helps the homeless, thanks to the generosity of people during the festive season.

Norwich-based St Martins Housing Trust strives to address the needs of single homeless people across the county by offering emergency direct access accommodation, residential care, support and personal development to those in need.

The annual pre-Christmas street collection in Norwich for the Trust generated �25,174 - and a further �56,528 was raised from supermarket collections and donations from almost 200 individuals, congregations and community groups.

Derek Player, general manager of St Martins Housing Trust, said the Bishopgate-based charity wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who helped to raise such a magnificent sum,

He said: 'We are absolutely delighted with the results of our Christmas appeal. We are so pleased that the community supports the activities of the Trust and what we are trying to achieve for homeless people.

'We celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2012. This charity has almost gone out of business several times in those 40 years, but the support we have received from the community in the city and county has always pulled us through.

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'We would really like to thank everybody who supports us. We think they are magnificent.'

Nick Williams, street collection co-ordinator for the charity, said: 'From Saturday, December 4 up to Christmas Eve we collected a total of �25,172.21. This was �3,000 more than we collected the previous year and one of the highest amounts in the 20 years the street collection has been running - in that time we have collected over �400,000 for St Martins.

'Despite the weather and the difficult financial conditions faced by many people the public were very generous – for the first time I am aware of we had people putting 50 pound notes in our collecting tins.'

Mr Player said the money raised is being put to good use in two areas - the Trust's winter provision to provide accommodation for the homeless and also its informal learning and development centre Under-1-Roof, in Westwick Street, which aims to give homeless people a better chance in life by helping them develop the skills they need to sustain their lives in the community.

• For more information on St Martins Housing Trust visit www.stmartinshousing.org.uk

• Are you doing something unusual for charity? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk