A homelessness charity in Worksop has thanked patrons and volunteers for keeping its work going as welfare cuts threaten to lead to a rise in rough sleeping across the district.
Staff at HOPE Community Services say they would not be able to offer rooms at their emergency accommodation hostel, as well as one-on-one support, without residents and businesses pulling together each month to donate.
In 2017, HOPE had more than 80 people stay in its Queen Street hostel – a figure expected to rise in 2018 as local authorities struggle with diminishing resources and growing demand for services.
Staff at the charity say the introduction of Universal Credit has also left growing numbers of people struggling to keep a roof over their head, whether they have a job or not.
Alan Diggles, charity chief executive officer, said: “We receive hundreds of donations from individual members of the public and businesses.
“It can be a monthly standing order, a cheque from a sponsored school event, a charity night at the local pub, or students bag-packing at a supermarket.
“Businesses often get bad press, which is not our experience locally.
“Marks & Spencer and Greggs regularly give us food such as cakes, biscuits, sandwiches, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables.
“Local churches, schools and convenience stores donate regularly and Retford Rotary and B&Q have been long-standing supporters.
“All of this helps us to feed our people, who may have nothing when they arrive at our door.
“Last year we distributed more than 4,000 meals.”
The charity was founded in Worksop in 1996, when it opened a soup kitchen.
It is now home to Nottinghamshire’s only 24-hour direct access emergency accommodation hostel, various move-on properties and a high street charity shop selling brand new clothes donated by Arcadia Group.
Alan said: “Finally, we would like to thank those who have contributed their time to HOPE - our volunteers.
“Without their commitment and patience, we wouldn’t be able operate as we do. Our clothing shop alone has 11 such individuals, all of whom are dedicated and hardworking, and who give their time freely.”
For more information on where to access support or how to donate, visit hopeservices.org.uk