The People’s Picnic and UEA student society Enactus team up in bid to create a winter hostel for Norwich’s homeless
- Credit: Nick Butcher
An appeal has been launched by a group which helps the homeless, and a group of UEA students, to provide extra support this winter.
The People's Picnic - a group which provide hot meals on Norwich's Haymarket twice a week - and student society Enactus have teamed up to try and provide a shelter for those who sleep rough through the winter months.
It started when Sarah Abdul Razak, vice-president of the entrepreneurial student society, was told Norwich's homeless problem was relatively small compared to elsewhere.
Miss Razak, 22, said: 'Initially we spoke to the People's Picnic and they said they wanted a city centre location where they, and the Norwich Soup Movement and others can have a proper place to serve their meals.'
But she said they also wanted to create a hostel, where people could get some shelter and come out of the cold.
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She said the number of people sleeping rough in Norwich was actually relatively low compared to other areas, so the goal of getting everyone off the streets in the city was achievable.
'Everywhere around the world people are trying to reduce homelessness,' she said. 'Here we can do it.'
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Lex Barber, a volunteer with the People's Picnic, said: 'We've been working together with Norwich Soup Movement on this accommodation for ages, but now Enactus is involved it's fantastic, hopefully they can get something up and running.'
The People's Picnic volunteers have served up to 60 home-cooked meals on Haymarket on Tuesdays and Saturdays for about four years.
But Miss Barber added that although they wanted to help, she knew there were other issues.
She said: 'We know this is not a long term fix for people, there are clearly long term problems.'
Now, they are appealing for two separate premises - one which can be used to serve the meals, and another to be turned into a hostel over the winter.
Miss Barber said: 'I'm feeling really positive about it, the problem is you can usually only claim for emergency accommodation if there has been a temperature of below zero for more than three nights in a row.
'Our role will be sharing our expertise and we're hoping Enactus can help with resources.'
• If you have a suggestion for premises which could be used, or can help in any other way, contact Sarah Abdul Razak on S.Abdul-Razak@uea.ac.uk.