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No need for homeless winter night shelter, council reveals

West Suffolk councils will not be opening a night shelter this winter Picture: GETTYIMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

West Suffolk councils will not be opening a night shelter this winter Picture: GETTYIMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

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A night shelter for the homeless in west Suffolk will not be opened over the winter months, the council has revealed.

A campaign to change the way people give to the homeless has been launched Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILSA campaign to change the way people give to the homeless has been launched Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILS

West Suffolk councils said that as a result of investing in all year round temporary accommodation and support staff, it will not need to open the shelter.

The council says that a winter shelter set up last year, which had space for 14 people, was not fully used, and its investment in more temporary accommodation allows the authority to offer more direct support.

A team of rough sleeper support workers – with expertise in mental health and addiction support – have also been taken on by the council in a bid to reduce homelessness in the area.

West Suffolk has seen a reduction in rough sleepers, from around 36 three months ago to currently around 22.

People are still being encouraged to donate items to help homeless and vulnerable people, including those who are rough sleeping.

Sara Mildmay-White, west Suffolk councils cabinet member for housing, said “Communities across west Suffolk showed huge support last year by donating items including coats, bedding, toiletries and long life foods for people staying in the night shelter. There are many great organisations across west Suffolk that people can donate to this winter.”

The council is also among the partners supporting an alternative giving campaign set up the Bury Drop In centre called ‘Looking for Change’ – which encourages people to help the homeless by text or online donations so they can get the support they need.

“The compassion of people who want to help is great and we want to encourage that – but in a way that benefits and improves the lives of those people on our streets,” Mrs Mildmay-White added.

“That is why we are supporting Bury Drop In’s Looking For Change campaign which recognises that giving money to people directly on the streets does not help them get off of the streets, and sometimes, due to the substances it is spent on, actually hinders attempts to get people settled into accommodation.

“Instead it asks people to donate via a text or online.

“By donating to Bury Drop In, people are helping rough sleepers toward having a life off of the streets.”

People can donate by text to the Drop In by texting WROO36 £(Amount) to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/burydropin

People can also donate toiletries, underwear and socks. Any clothes donated to the Drop In are passed on to the Salvation Army charity shop, who are kind enough to give Drop In guests whatever they need.

Items can be taken to the Drop In at Trinity Methodist Church, at Brentgovel Street in Bury, between 11am and 2pm each Tuesday and Friday.

Donated clothes can also be taken direct to the Salvation Army Charity at 60 Cornhill in Bury.

The Bury Drop In is also looking for volunteers – visit www.burydropin.org/volunteers.html

People can donate provisions to the organisations below:

Brandon

Church Institute Brandon – Food, toiletries, gifts for families. No clothing. People can bring them to St Peter’s Church, Church End, Brandon, IP27 0JE on a Wednesday between 9-11.30 during drop in or by contacting Rev Sharron Coburn on 01842 811189.

Bury St Edmunds

Gatehouse Foodbank – Cans, Jars, Packets, Christmas food and toiletries

Items can be dropped at the office in Dettingen Way IP33 3TU between 9.00am -3.00pm Monday to Friday.

There are also collection points in Waitrose, Asda, CO-OP (Out Risbygate) and Marks & Spencer in Bury St Edmunds.

Visit www.gatehouse.org.uk

Haverhill

REACH Community Projects Haverhill – Food, toiletries i.e. shower gel, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste for male and female clients, pet food. No clothes.

There are a number of collection points around Haverhill: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ipswich Building Society, Haverhill Library & Peasgood & Skeates Funeral Directors.

Other donation points are directly to our Resource Centre on the Clements Estate or any of the local churches, such as St Mary’s on the market square and Methodist Church in Camps Road.

Further afield donations can be left at Co-op Clare and the Co-op Sible Hedingham.

Visit www.reachhaverhill.org.uk

Lakenheath

Lakenheath Community Foodbank – Food and toiletries - Take donations to Abundant Life Church, Back Street, Lakenheath, IP27 9HF.

Newmarket

Newmarket Open Door – Food, toiletries, drinks, frozen food such as ready meals, seasonal items i.e. Christmas puddings, pet food. Please take donations to Portland House, 188 High Street, Newmarket, CB8 9AP on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday am.

Tesco Newmarket and Milton Cambridge and Daily Bread in Cambridge have kindly provided collection facilities for customers to shop and share and donate to the foodbank.

Visit www.newmarketopendoor.org.uk

People who suspect someone of rough sleeping can report it to the council via Streetlink – www.streetlink.org.uk

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