Kindness and generosity shown by volunteers helping the homeless in Wellingborough

A shared lunch on New Year's Eve at the Quakeer Meeting House in Wellingborough
A shared lunch on New Year's Eve at the Quakeer Meeting House in Wellingborough
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Volunteers gave up their time over Christmas and New Year to help the homeless and those sleeping rough.

Wellingborough Homeless Forum was recently launched to bring groups and organisations together to help tackle the problem homelessness and those at risk of it in the town.

One of its first tasks was to create a calendar of support available over Christmas so people could access a warm place in the daytime, food, clothing and any available advice and support.

Marion Turner-Hawes, the forum’s deputy chairman, said: “The calendar of support seems to have been a great success given how quickly we got it together.

“Clearly many people are facing considerable challenges in our community but it was good that colleagues and friends were able to make some help available each day over the Christmas period, and on many occasions this was in a warm space.

“People from across our community worked so hard to help fill the gaps and everyone that helped deserves our great appreciation.

“There is so much more to do, but hopefully contributors feel very heartened that, even if only in a small way, we have been able to make a difference for some people in our community at this important time of year.”

Marion said they had up to 20 people at most events on the calendar.

And she added: “I have helped out at a few events, including at the Quaker Meeting House over the weekend, and I’ve been inspired by the kindness and generosity of so many people and the stories of the people we sought to help, it’s often had a ‘family’ feel.

“Many of us feel the people receiving our help over Christmas has been the tip of the iceberg.

“And we hope that by helping to raise awareness and understand people’s housing or support needs, as well as getting better organised and working together alongside the council and other key partners, we’ll be able to start asking the right questions, offering practical help and perhaps helping to fill the gaps with accommodation and support that the council aren’t able to.”

The group has four sub-groups, including an urgent accommodation group which is looking into creating a night shelter for the town.

There will be a meeting later this month following up the work carried out over Christmas and planning what happens next.

The policy group will then start looking at the underlying causes and issues around housing affordability in the area, and how this is feeding the increase in homelessness in recent months and years.

They will be looking at practical things they can do alongside the council, landlords and house builders, as well as looking at what’s working well in other areas and could help in Wellingborough.

For more information, search for Wellingborough Homeless Forum on Facebook.