8th Aug, 2020

Number of homeless folk helped by festive project in Redditch doubles

A REDDITCH outreach project which supports those living on the streets has seen ‘more in need than ever before’ during the festive season.

Radiate Redditch has been helping the homeless around Redditch for the past seven years by providing shelter and support for people over Christmas – and this year almost twice as many people needed help.

The volunteer-run project, based at the Ecumenical Centre in Evesham Walk, offers both a day and night service, giving people a hot meal, some light entertainment, and the option of a warm bed for the night.

In previous years, between three and eight people have used the service at night – but this time the number signing up for a bed rose well into double figures.

“This is by far the busiest year we’ve ever had. The need seems to be greater than ever,” said Ben Rafiqi, manager at Radiate. “It is a concern to see the need is growing.

“But this is part of what we do. It’s important to reach these people and make sure they can access the support they clearly need.”

The day centre has welcomed between 25 and 30 people a day over the Christmas period which in previous years but numbers soared in 2017, with between 40 and 50 coming through the door on some days.

The centre was open to people from December 24 until January 1, and as well as a chance to warm up and rest, guests were given the chance to talk to housing specialists and doctors.

“As well as supporting people through the winter, there are some success stories that make a difference for the rest of the year too,” added Mr Rafiqi.

“Some of the people we spoke with will now be given permanent housing – and without our support, that may never have happened.”

Visit Radiate Redditch’s Facebook page to find out more or volunteer.

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