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‘The need is definitely there:’ Busy start for new winter homelessness initiative

PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 November 2018

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer. Picture: Julian Claxton

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer. Picture: Julian Claxton

Copyright (c) Julian Claxton Photography 2017.

A winter weather homeless provision has been “very, very busy” in the first few weeks of a new initiative.

Thin Ice Project provides emergency accommodation and specialist support for those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable over the winter months in Lowestoft and surrounding areas. It runs from November 1 until February 28. Picture: Access Community TrustThin Ice Project provides emergency accommodation and specialist support for those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable over the winter months in Lowestoft and surrounding areas. It runs from November 1 until February 28. Picture: Access Community Trust

With emergency accommodation and specialist support for the homeless and vulnerable being extended over the winter months in Lowestoft and the surrounding areas, the new project has already assisted 17 people.

The Waveney-wide Thin Ice project began on November 1 as part of a community response after concerns had been raised that more needed to be done during the Beast from the East winter crisis.

The new project sees Access Community Trust, Lowestoft Rising, Waveney District Council’s housing team and Lowestoft Foodbank joining forces to provide a night shelter facility every night until February 28.

With an out of hours support service number to call, seven days a week between 6pm and 9pm until February 28 as well as four beds at the Fyffe Centre to house those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable during the winter months, Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust, said: “Its been very, very busy.

“On Thursday night we housed eigth people and in the first month we have assisted 17 individuals in total.”

“We have had two people that had a previous address in Norfolk, the rest are people that had Suffolk addresses, and we have seen more people than we thought we would have done at this point.

“That is not neccesarily a bad thing as the message is getting out there.”

Mrs Ratzer added: “We have been able to support people before the weather gets worse and two people have got accommodation now, which is a really good outcome.

To have eight people in one night when we said we would have just the four beds shows we are very, very busy - that’s double what we were expecting, the need is definitely there.”

Donations, funds and support can still be pledged to the project. Mrs Razter said: “We have had some donations, but the message is that the service has been busy and it will only get worse as the weather gets worse. The need to fundraise is more and more important.”

For out of hours support through the Thin Ice project, seven days a week between 6pm and 9pm until February 28, call 01502 569033 or you can donate via www.justgiving.com/campaign/thinicewaveney

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