Released on 14 December 2018 Press Release
While many people may be revelling in the festivities in the lead up to Christmas, those who are sleeping rough on the streets don't have the same luxury.
Providing homeless people with care and support is important throughout the year, not just during the festive period. However, with Christmas widely regarded as the season of giving and spending time with loved ones, offering help and support to someone in need around this time of year can have an especially huge impact.
Stratford District Council's Stratford Link Project provides support for rough sleepers all-year round, located at 14 Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BA.
The Link Project provides help, support and advice to rough sleepers, former rough sleepers and those who are socially isolated. This includes access to showering and washing facilities, food and drink (including water to ensure hydration), clothing and footwear (from donated items).
However, with limited space at the Stratford Link Project, storing large scale donations can be a problem, but those wishing to support the Link can make a financial donation at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stratfordlinkproject, which allows more flexibility.
Donations don't need to be large as the lower limit is just £1 and cash donations can remain anonymous or be accompanied by a message giving intended purpose.
For those wishing to donate items, the most needed are men's toiletries, gloves, boxer shorts, socks and jeans as well as bath towels and women's sanitary products.
Donations of working mobile phones would also be useful as they are a lifeline for those on the street and an essential part of qualifying for Universal Credit.
On Wednesday 19 December, the Stratford Link Project will be hosting a Christmas meal for service users and are planning to give each person a present and food hamper.
More information on the work of the Link Project can be found here: www.facebook.com/StratfordLinkProject.
Other offers of help include:
In addition to this, the District Council is currently working with partners looking at initiatives that aim to encourage the public to donate money or items to homeless support charities instead of directly to beggars.
Many of the town's residents and visitors are incredibly generous and the District Council is keen to ensure that that generosity is used effectively. Begging is illegal and doesn't offer long-term solutions. In some cases, beggars are not sleeping rough and use the money to feed harmful addictions.
Cllr Jacqui Harris, Health, Wellbeing and Housing Portfolio, who will be attending the Link's Christmas lunch on 19 December, says: "The District Council works with a range of partners to support those sleeping rough and reduce the number of homeless in our town. It's important to recognise that rough sleeping and begging has an impact on fear of crime and safety in the town centre. Diverted giving will enable local charities and support agencies to carry on their vital work, ensuring those in need receive support and move off the streets and towards a better, more stable future."
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575