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Support network hailed as number of rough sleepers in Lowestoft decreases

PUBLISHED: 12:11 29 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:11 29 October 2017

Faye Scott, Access Community Trust support worker, at the Bridge View drop-in centre in Lowestoft with Nathan Stearn. Picture: Courtesy of Access Community Trust

Faye Scott, Access Community Trust support worker, at the Bridge View drop-in centre in Lowestoft with Nathan Stearn. Picture: Courtesy of Access Community Trust

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A support system, which was set up to help prevent rough sleeping in Lowestoft, has been hailed as a success.

Phil Aves, Lowestoft Rising change manager. Picture: Courtesy of Lowestoft RisingPhil Aves, Lowestoft Rising change manager. Picture: Courtesy of Lowestoft Rising

The latest figures show that the work which has been undertaken in Lowestoft has seen a significant fall in rough sleepers across the town, with the improvements even more impressive compared to the increases in the national trends.

But as the nights draw in, and the weather becomes colder, the situation will become even tougher for those who are rough sleepers. And that’s why Lowestoft Rising – a partnership of organisations which works together in its aim to create a significantly improved quality of life for everybody growing up, living in, working in, visiting and investing in the town – has worked hard to build up Lowestoft’s support network all year round.

Phil Aves, change manager at Lowestoft Rising, said: “This time last year we identified 20 rough sleepers as part of the national count. This year we have five names only and almost all of those are ‘choice’ rough sleepers rather than necessity rough sleepers.

Access Community Trust's social enterprise cafe - Sams Coffee House on Bevan Street East, Lowestoft.  Picture: James BassAccess Community Trust's social enterprise cafe - Sams Coffee House on Bevan Street East, Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

“A significant difference has been made, and a lot of that is down to the Make Every Adult Matter (MEAM) workers employed by Access Community Trust on behalf of the Lowestoft System.”

Antony Parke, customer and commercial projects manager at Access Community Trust, added: “There is a tremendous effort all year round to provide people with the support they need, including working with people to prevent rough sleeping.

“Homelessness and the issues which frequently surround issues of homelessness do not suddenly appear in the winter months. Staff and volunteers at Access Community Trust and within the Lowestoft Rising partnership have a huge impact, but the reality is we’d like to be able to do more.

Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust.Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust.

“Visible rough sleepers represent only a section of the homeless, many more are ‘hidden homeless’ where they are sleeping in cars and friends sofas.”

With this in mind, Access Community Trust in conjunction with Lowestoft Rising is seeking public support to help continue and expand the work they do. With volunteers sought to help at one of Access Community Trust’s services, the trust is also running a ‘buy a coffee or a meal’ campaign from Sams Coffee House on Bevan Street East and Sams Coffee House at Marram Green, Kessingland.

To find out more on how you can volunteer to help Access Community Trust contact Emma Langdale on 01502 527200.

How you can help

Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust, said: “Our Bridge View service on Commercial Road, Lowestoft will be the location of our ‘soup kitchen’ this year providing access to a plethora of important and vital requirements such as hot food, awarding food parcels in the event of an emergency or if food banks are closed, as well as shower and laundry facilities.

“Bridge View also offers advice and support around benefits, utilities, housing, medical appointments, amongst other services.

“The public can help by going to Sams Coffee House on Bevan Street East in Lowestoft or Marram Green, Kessingland, or The Work Space on High Street, Lowestoft, and make a donation which we suggest is the cost of a coffee or a meal.”

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