A HOT meal and a warm bed for the night – something that many of us may take for granted at Christmastime.
But with homelessness on the rise and more people feeling the financial pinch, it is not a time for celebration for all and Radiate Redditch, a group which provides shelter and support for homeless people or those isolated over the festive season, is getting set to make sure these things are available to all.
For the seventh Christmas in a row, Radiate Redditch are providing a winter day and night service for those in need throughout Christmas – from December 24 until January 1.
The daytime sessions are open from 11am until 4pm, and those wishing to drop in can have a warming meal, hot tea and coffee, enjoy some musical entertainment and find out more about local services.
GPs and other professionals will also be on hand.
The night sessions will run from 8pm to 8am, with the bandstand in Redditch town centre being the meeting point for anyone wishing to have a hot meal and a bed for the night. Breakfast will also be provided.
We caught up with Ben Rafiqi, manager at Radiate Redditch, as he was delivering soup to homeless communities in Birmingham.
“Many of us associate Christmas with family, food and being at home – but there are so many people out there who don’t have that,” he said.
“We decided seven years ago to try and do something and help the people, sometimes quite literally. just outside our doors.
“And that’s what the programme is all about – we’re here if people need us, throughout the Christmas period when other services might not be.
“When we began, we’d see up to eight people a night – now we’re seeing at least double that figure.
“We should not ignore these people – we should help them.”
Volunteers are still needed to help the scheme – visit Radiate Redditch’s Facebook page before induction sessions this Sunday and Monday (December 17 and 18).