Christmas gift for Corby's woodland homeless as town donates to pay for rooms

Corby people put their hand in their pockets this Christmas to pay for accommodation for the town’s homeless wood dwellers after a concerned resident started an emergency appeal.

By Sarah Ward
Friday, 3rd January 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 12:31 pm
Seven men living in the woods are now in warm rooms and a fundraiser saw the pounds flooding in.
Seven men living in the woods are now in warm rooms and a fundraiser saw the pounds flooding in.

Seven men who had been living in town centre woodland are now in warm beds after the town’s residents and businesses responded to an appeal by Natasha Beresford to dig into their pockets to help find somewhere for them to stay over the festive period.

Within 48 hours £2,500 had been raised and on Christmas Eve the men were able to say goodbye to the woods and see in Christmas Day with some food and their own room.

Natasha said: “On the Sunday before Christmas I went to see the people living in the woods and take them some food and it was a mud bath.

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The Dorking Walk shelter has been refurbished by Corby Council but has not opened its doors yet.

“Pigs were living in better conditions. The shelter was not able to open and so I started the fundraiser as a knee-jerk reaction.

“I thought even if we get enough donations to buy some straw then that could soak up the mud. So I put a plea out there on Facebook and I did not think the response would be as great as it was. The men were overwhelmed and I don’t think they could believe it. They now look more relaxed.

“You couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas story.”

Food parcels were provided by charity Corby Rise and the funds, which include a £300 donation from Corby Town Football Club, will be enough to pay for their rooms until January 13, by which time the town’s shelter may possibly be open.

Their makeshift woodland home had become like a mud bath in the recent wet weather.

The council-owned newly-refurbished Dorking Walk shelter, which will be run by East Northants Community Services, had not been able to open in time because of a shortage of volunteers.

But following an appeal in the Northants Telegraph and coverage of how the rough sleepers were living, a good number of volunteers have now stepped forward and a training session is taking place.

Natasha Beresford, who was helped in her efforts by Joe England and others, is hopeful now the shelter will open and the town will provide the best facilities in the area.

Corby Nightlight, which ran a temporary shelter last year from the former police station, also provides hot daily meals for the town’s homeless from a food van.