Norwich based homeless charity kick starts their 2017 Christmas appeal

From left to right, Jo Spencer, Derek Player, the Dean, the Very Rev Jane Hedges and, Christina Mart

From left to right, Jo Spencer, Derek Player, the Dean, the Very Rev Jane Hedges and, Christina Martin outside Tesco on Harford Road. Photo: St Martins - Credit: St Martins

The St Martins Housing Trust - which helps homeless people in Norfolk - has launched its annual Christmas appeal.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, joined volunteer collectors from the charity at the Tesco Harford Bridges store to kick off the collecting.

A team of volunteers will take to the city's streets during December to help raise vital funds for local homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.

The dean was delighted to be the patron for this year's fund-raising appeal for St Martins. She said: 'So many local charitable enterprises, including St Martins, have been given life by Norwich Cathedral over the centuries. I am delighted that the link between us lives on.'

Facilities for an extra seven rough sleepers has been built at St Martins hostel in Bishopbridge House in Norwich. The hostel can accommodate up to 37 people who might otherwise be sleeping rough in the city this winter.

It is hoped this appeal will be a final push to raise the remaining amount for the project, meaning that the entire cost will have been funded by the people of Norfolk.

Over the Christmas period last year, record numbers of rough sleepers were recorded in Norwich, with over 30 on many nights.

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Derek Player, general manager at St Martins, said: 'Last year, an incredible £31,000 was raise during the month of December by our volunteers and every penny collected went towards the extra facilities at Bishopbridge House.

'If you are out and about the city or at certain local supermarkets during December, you will properly spot one of our authorised collectors. And if you donate some cash, you can be assured you are helping to keep some homeless people from sleeping rough on the streets of Norwich this Christmas.

'It is our major fund raising effort of the year, and we give our grateful thanks to local managers of supermarkets for facilitating collections, particularly in the run up to Christmas.'

The collection is run entirely by volunteers with every penny going to St Martins. The more volunteers, they more money they can collect.

If anyone is able to give an hour of their time between December 1 and 23 to assist with the collection, please contact Gill Williams at or on 01603 438766.