A warm welcome, friendly places to meet, hot food and Christmas dinners are being offered to people who are homeless, and other vulnerable people, over the festive period.
A full programme of extra support and activities has been coordinated by Leicester’s Homelessness Charter, which brings together a range of local organisations working together to tackle homelessness in the city.
Local charities, faith groups, the city council and other organisations will be providing a wide range of services throughout the festive period to help ensure that anyone at risk of sleeping rough can get the support they need but also enjoy some Christmas cheer.
Rebecca Pawley, project coordinator for Leicester’s Homelessness Charter, said:
“Homelessness is on the rise nationally with an estimated 309,000 people expected to spend this Christmas without a home. Leicester’s Homelessness Charter was established in 2018 to support organisations and individuals who are working to tackle homelessness in Leicester.
“Christmas can be a particularly lonely time for those experiencing homelessness. It is heart-warming to see organisations, faith groups and individuals working together, to ensure that anyone experiencing homelessness will be able to find a place of warmth and safety, access support and enjoy some festive cheer.”
Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, assistant city mayor for housing, said: “Local charities and faith groups in Leicester provide invaluable support all year round and at Christmas they go the extra mile to make sure that some of the most vulnerable people in the city can have a Christmas meal and enjoy good company in a warm and welcoming place.
“We’re very grateful for the work they do and to Leicester’s Homelessness Charter which helps bring together these fantastic organisations. It really does make a huge difference to people’s lives and is needed more than ever at this time of the year.
“Unfortunately there are occasions where individuals, for their own reasons, continue to refuse immediate support – even when its freezing – but outreach is on the streets mornings and evenings to provide help, including emergency accommodation, to anyone found rough sleeping. Our aim is to ensure that no-one needs to sleep rough at any time of the year and our Dawn Centre is open every day – including Christmas day – to offer emergency accommodation and support.”
To help people who are sleeping rough, the city council’s homelessness outreach team is out morning and evenings, providing support including emergency accommodation.
The Dawn Centre, in Conduit Street, will be open every day throughout the Christmas and New Year period offering advice, support and assistance to those who are homeless.
Full and up-to-date details of all services available over the festive period – including those offering meals during the holidays – are available online at www.leicester.gov.uk/homelessservices and at www.leicesterhomelessnesscharter.co.uk