Primary school joins effort to give homeless Christmas party

Sam Furlong, Anon Street Team organiser Joy Elsley and Cringleford Primary headteacher Neil Henery.

Sam Furlong, Anon Street Team organiser Joy Elsley and Cringleford Primary headteacher Neil Henery. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Families of children at a primary school are helping in the efforts to hold a Christmas party for people sleeping rough in Norwich.

Cringleford Primary School has organised a collection towards the special event planned by Anon Street Team which provides hot food and other essential items to homeless and vulnerable people.

Homeless people in Norwich will benefit from a Christmas party.

Homeless people in Norwich will benefit from a Christmas party. - Credit: Evelyn Simak/Geograph

The school was moved to appeal to parents to donate items ahead of plans to hold a festive party for homeless people outside City Hall in Norwich on December 13.

Sam Furlong, a helper with Anon Street Team who is also a midday supervisor at the school, said: “Earlier in the year temporary accommodation was found for many of the people sleeping rough in an effort to protect them from coronavirus. There are however still people sleeping in shop doorways or worse in Norfolk.

“We are just asking if anyone would be able to give donations of items like men and women’s toiletries, socks, gloves, chocolates, sweets, cakes and mince pies.

Volunteer run Anon Street Team has been providing meals and essentials to homeless people throughout coronavirus. 

Volunteer run Anon Street Team has been providing meals and essentials to homeless people throughout coronavirus.  - Credit: Anon Street Team


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“It is going to be a traditional Christmas party with probably 150 to 200 people vulnerable and homeless and we just want to give them the best and make it special.”

Headteacher Neil Henery said: “I have been amazed by the response because we thought it was something we could do to help at Christmas and it goes with the values of the school.

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"Parents have really responded fantastically and we are really pleased we could do something to make a difference."

Families of children at Cringleford Primary School have donated towards the Christmas party.

Families of children at Cringleford Primary School have donated towards the Christmas party. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Anon Street Team organiser Joy Elsley said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response because we are self-funded and grass roots so any donations that we get especially this time of the year is fantastic.

“We feed the homeless all throughout the year but to have something special, even just some chocolate or a pair of brand new socks, is amazing. So thanks to Sam, Mr Henery, parents and all the children.”

Homeless people in Norwich will benefit from a Christmas party.

Homeless people in Norwich will benefit from a Christmas party. - Credit: Evelyn Simak/Geograph

Mrs Furlong said: “I was one of these people, sadly, who used to just walk on past when I saw a homeless person. But at the start of lockdown I saw a lady sitting in a wet sleeping bag in a shop doorway, and I asked her how can I help.

"She said the worst part of being homeless isn’t the cold or the rain, it is not being seen.”

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