York’s homeless are being looked after during coronavirus

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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York’s homeless are being looked after during coronavirus

Local charities and volunteer groups are working together to ensure York’s rough sleepers are being taken care of in these trying, desperate times.

Great news has come to light that over 20 of our vulnerable rough sleepers have now got a room, with facilities – essentially a decent roof over their heads – in a local hotel.

Each room includes a toaster, kettle, microwave and an ensuite bathroom providing facilities many of these people could only have dreamt of a week ago.

Carecent are now focusing their attention on making up a daily pack-up for them, whilst Kitchen for Everyone York (KEY) are providing a hot evening meal 3 nights a week. KEY are also supplying tinned soup, baked beans, pot noodles and bread for people to prepare evening meals themselves on the days they don’t supply hot meals. 

This means that everyone is getting at least two meals a day.

This whole effort has been an ever-changing plan of action, which the charities now feel is working.

We are all doing our best to ensure that nobody is slipping through the net,” said Nicky Gladstone of Carecent.

We have been almost overwhelmed with offers of support and help – what we need is food donations.

Because of strict social distancing protocol, we are running this with a tiny amount of people at any one time. We are obviously taking hygiene and distancing recommendations totally seriously to ensure the virus is not spread.”

Nicky is grateful for local businesses providing many food stuffs, including Thomas the Baker providing bread, and fruit and vegetables from Shambles Market.

If local people want to donate, Carecent are specifically asking for sandwich filling items like cheese, as well as pack-up favourites like chocolate biscuits and crisps.

She went on to say It is such a relief that everyone is pitching in, working collaboratively. We are seeing York at its very best in a crisis. Charities, Suppliers, the Council, volunteers; everyone is pulling together.”

The Salvation Army at 63 Lawrence Street is asking people who want to donate to think about things you can do in a basic kitchen. Sarah Pirie said: My advice to anyone who asks if they can help, is to provide a carrier bag of food for one person who only has access to a kettle, microwave and toaster. They can be dropped at our office on Lawrence Street and we will coordinate giving them out.”

Helen Rawlings, Team Leader at Kitchen For Everyone explained how they were doing their usual sessions days – Monday, Tuesday and Saturday evenings – providing takeaway meals to be heated and on Sunday morning providing sandwiches.

She said  “We are happy to be helping and are keeping numbers to a minimum in prep and delivery so that we aren’t putting anyone in danger. It’s great that different groups are working together to put this service on and help those who need it.”

Yvonne Morrisey, Manager at Peasholme Charity talked about how they are working hard to maintain contact with the people they support, and how grateful they were for basic toiletries.

“We are very thankful to everyone who has offered to help, including LUSH, who donated soap and toilet rolls, this week.  It is difficult for rough sleepers to maintain the hygiene rules without access to basic facilities.  

“If anyone has hand sanitiser that we could be share, then we would be very grateful. Donations could be left at Carecent.”

Pack-up food, toilet roll, hand sanitiser and toiletry donations can be made at Carecent, Central Methodist Church, St Saviourgate between 8am & 9am – please phone 01904 624244 and leave donations at the gate.  

Volunteers will collect the donations and this will ensure that they can maintain social distancing rules.

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