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Joint initiative to protect northern Devon's rough sleepers during severe weather

Rough Sleepers

A joint initiative to protect vulnerable homeless people in Torridge and North Devon during periods of severe weather this winter has been made possible, thanks to funding from central government.

Torridge and North Devon Council's successfully led a joint bid for almost £43,000 of funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to provide a warm bed and refreshments to rough sleepers in bad weather. The Salvation Army's premises on Oakleigh Road, Barnstaple is open to any homeless person from the North Devon or Torridge districts when a yellow Met Office weather warning is in place. Doors will be open between 7pm and 10pm and the initiative will continue until 1 January 2020, supported by partner services.

When the severe weather provision service has finished, another initiative, called Safe Sleep, will kick in. Last year, Safe Sleep helped 111 people, at least 36 of whom are now in secure accommodation. This time around, Safe Sleep - also based at the Salvation Army centre in Barnstaple - will open its doors every day between 2 January and 31 March 2020. 

In addition to these initiatives Councils have obtained further funding of over £7,000, which will pay for three units of emergency temporary accommodation during the winter months.

Housing officers from both councils are now calling for volunteers to help out when the Salvation Army centre opens its doors, as well as requesting donations, including:

  • tinned soup and tinned tomatoes
  • pasta and rice
  • lentils, beans and pulses
  • tea, coffee and biscuits
  • board games for adults

Simon Toon, Customer Support Manager at Torridge Council said:

"As in previous years its vitally important that we have plans in place to support the more vulnerable people in our communities during the winter months. We echo our thanks to all the volunteers that generously give up their time to help us with this initiative"

Prospective volunteers are asked to email North Devon Council's Service Lead for Housing, Vulnerable Persons and Community Safety, Natasha Rowland on natasha.rowland@northdevon.gov.uk.  Severe weather warnings are posted on North Devon Council's Facebook page and through GovDelivery, their email notification service. Residents can sign up to receive an email each time a weather warning is made at public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKNORTHDEVON/subscriber/new

06 November 2019