Homelessness is on the increase nationally, and Worcester is no exception. In a bid to increase awareness and to raise funds for local charities which support people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, the Mayor of Worcester will be hosting the city’s first Homelessness Action Day later this month.
The free event, which is branded ‘Homeless, not Helpless’ will take place from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 26 January at the Guildhall.
Representatives from St. Paul’s, Worcester YMCA, Maggs, South Worcestershire Nightstop, Worcester Citizens Advice Bureau & WHABAC (Worcester Housing and Benefits Advice Centre), Worcester Community Housing, Worcester City Council and other local organisations will discuss their services and experiences of working with homeless people in the city.
You can find out what volunteer opportunities are on offer and other ways to support their work.
Mel Clarke will also be there, and is happy to be photographed with people attending the event. Food and drink will be available and there will be a variety of performances from the Worcester Music Society.
“Homelessness is an isolating and destructive experience, and homeless people are some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society. Unfortunately homelessness is likely to increase further, as the delayed effects of the economic downturn, cuts to housing benefit and other reforms all start to take effect,” says Cllr Roger Berry, Mayor of Worcester.
“In Worcester we will be aiming to ensure that no one new to the streets spends a second night out. Action must be taken to help people find a route out of their predicament. We must work together to end homelessness.”
During an official head count in Worcester in late 2011, 17 people were found sleeping rough in the city. After years of declining trends, all forms of homelessness have risen steadily in the UK since 2010, according to national sources.
“Homelessness is a complex issue and no single voluntary sector organisation, government agency, local authority or central government department can prevent homelessness alone, but active partnership working can make a big impact,” continued the Mayor.
A new service called StreetLink has been launched to enable the public to alert local authorities about rough sleeping in their area. The service is funded by central government and is part of their commitment to end rough sleeping.
The new service offers the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough and is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to services and support available in Worcester. To use StreetLink, call 0300 500 0914 or log on to www.streetlink.org.uk.