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Emergency beds found for rough sleepers as snow arrives in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 10:03 30 January 2019

A rough sleeper in a Norwich shop doorway. Picture: Archant

A rough sleeper in a Norwich shop doorway. Picture: Archant

Archant

Rough sleepers were offered emergency accommodation in Norwich as the city saw its first snowfall of the year.

Snow falls across Norwich on Tuesday February 27. Picture: Archant Snow falls across Norwich on Tuesday February 27. Picture: Archant

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is triggered when temperatures are predicted to fall below zero for three consecutive nights and means anyone without shelter is given access to a bed.

The protocol was activated by Norwich City Council on Monday, January 28 and will be in place for three nights until Thursday, January 31.

Outreach staff from Pathways Norwich took to the streets to engage those sleeping rough and find them beds in hostels, sheltered accommodation or B&Bs.

Helen Baldry, from homeless charity St Martins, said: “Several partners are working together so we can find the right accommodation for individuals in need.

Pathways support workers on early morning outreach in Norwich. Picture: Dominic GilbertPathways support workers on early morning outreach in Norwich. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

“We make sure the beds are suitable, for example we don’t put men and women together in the same accommodation.”

The Norwich winter night shelter project was also in full swing, provided by faith and community groups in conjunction with Norwich City Council.

Norwich Central Baptist Church on Duke Street and Russell Street Community Centre, run by St Thomas Church, invited known rough sleepers to access shelter and make links with the Pathways team.

Ms Baldry said although there would always be a handful of people who did not accept support, the majority of individuals they reached out to had been found shelter.

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place until midday on Friday, February 1, with forecasters warning more snow could fall in coming days.

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