Campaign gives rough sleepers respite from freezing cold weather
- Credit: Archant
As temperatures plummet to as low as -7C, funds raised through Norfolk Community Foundation's Surviving Winter appeal is critical to the health and wellbeing of our county's most vulnerable people - especially those sleeping rough on the streets.
The Surviving Winter appeal, backed by the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, aims to tackle winter poverty and isolation in Norfolk by providing essential support to some of the most vulnerable through to spring.
The aim of the appeal is to reach people who are currently on the edge of formal support but are in serious need.
For them, the support of charities such as Norwich homeless charity St Martins Housing could be the difference between life and death.
The charity provides housing, support and care to some of the most vulnerable in Norwich, and although the team work incredibly hard to find accommodation for everyone who finds themselves homeless, the sad reality is that there is often insufficient accommodation available.
Funds raised from the Surviving Winter appeal - which has raised more than £100,000 of its £150,000 target - has enabled the charity to provide emergency respite accommodation in hotels and bed and breakfasts.
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It has provided 12 people with a street break so far, giving rough sleepers some essential respite from the harsh reality of their daily lives on the streets.
St Martins Housing chief executive Dr Jan Sheldon said: 'Rough sleeping is dangerous and unpredictable. As temperatures plummet there is a significant risk of hypothermia.
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'This funding could save lives. It means we can offer people a safe and comfortable place to go where they can enjoy the things that most of us take for granted on a daily basis.'
Seven people who were supported by the initiative have now gone on to more permanent and secure housing.
Hannah, 22, had been asked to leave an overcrowded housing situation with her family and had been sleeping rough in Norwich.
Due to disability, it was difficult to find emergency accommodation, so she was placed in a B&B until alternative arrangements could be made.
Donna, 42, had recently arrived in Norwich having left a rehabilitation programme. She had nowhere to go and faced rough sleeping.
She was placed in B&B accommodation overnight to prevent her rough sleeping and she has since returned to rehab.
How to donate
Help elderly and vulnerable people stay warm, fed and sheltered this winter by donating to the Surviving Winter campaign.
Run by the Norfolk Community Foundation and backed by the EDP and Norwich Evening News, the campaign is aiming to raise £150,000 to tackle fuel poverty and isolation for those who struggle the most between now and the spring.
The campaign is urging older people who do not need their winter fuel allowance to donate it to those who desperately do, as many are faced with choosing between paying the bills and putting food on the table.
Funds raised in the appeal will be distributed to a range of good causes across Norfolk, including the foundation trust's key partners Age UK Norfolk, Norwich Foodbank and St Martins Housing Trust.
To donate, Visit the Surviving Winter appeal donation page at www.norfolkfoundation.com/news-events/launch-of-the-surviving-winter-appeal or call Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623 958.
You can donate by cheque made payable to Norfolk Community Foundation and send it to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN.