'This winter is going to be extremely tough': Vital service is extended

The new enhanced project has launched at Sams cafe in Lowestoft.

The new enhanced project has launched at Sams Cafe in Lowestoft. - Credit: Sams Cafe Twitter

Organisers of a vital winter weather homeless provision have re-launched and "enhanced" the much-needed project.

The Thin Ice project – a winter community response in Lowestoft and the surrounding areas – has now been extended to those who are vulnerable and in need.

The Thin Ice project poster.

The Thin Ice project poster. - Credit: Access Community Trust

After previous Thin Ice campaigns had seen Access Community Trust, Lowestoft Rising, the council and foodbank successfully supporting local homeless people, the service has been enhanced to "help those most at need this winter."

Access, Lowestoft Rising and East Suffolk councillors are teaming up with Sams Café on Bevan Street East in Lowestoft to provide free hot drinks and hot meals to those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable within the community.

Sams Cafe in Lowestoft.

Sams Cafe in Lowestoft. - Credit: Access Community Trust

The service is operating from now until February 28, 2022 from 10am to 3pm between Monday to Saturday.

With the charity continuing to see a "sharp increase" in local people and families seeking support since the government’s furlough scheme ceased in October, many are now experiencing increased hardship due to the uplift in universal credit, combined with volatile petrol and energy costs.

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer.

Access Community Trust chief executive officer Emma Ratzer. - Credit: Julian Claxton

Emma Ratzer, chief executive officer at Access Community Trust, said: “This winter is set to be extremely tough not only for those that find themselves rough sleeping.

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"Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported thousands of individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.

"This winter is going to be particularly hard for these local people too and we have made the decisions to open up our Thin Ice service to support these people too.

"Whether you are a family struggling to put food on the table or an elderly couple having to make a choice about food or heating your home, we say come to Sams and let us help you with a no questions asked free drink and hot meal.”

Since beginning the new service last week, the café has already provided meals to more than 100 people.

Phil Aves, from Lowestoft Rising

Phil Aves, Lowestoft Rising manager. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Phil Aves, Lowestoft Rising manager, said: "This year, with our accommodation model working and low levels of rough sleeping, we have turned our attention to hunger.

"We are putting on Thin Ice as a 'paid for' hot meal and a drink at Sams Café in Bevan Street East between 10am and 3pm, six days a week."

The Thin Ice project flyer.

The Thin Ice project flyer. - Credit: Access Community Trust

The community is now being invited to help support this initiative by spreading the message to those in need and by providing a small donation to the charity’s text to donate service or purchasing a ‘pay it forward’ meal directly from its community café.

You can text THINICE to 70470 or pop into Sams and buy someone a meal.