Norwich homelessness charity breaks record with £34,500 street collection

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust. Picture: St Martin's

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust. Picture: St Martin's - Credit: Archant

A Norwich homelessness charity's Christmas street collection has raised the highest amount in 29 years, with a record £34,500 collected.

Volunteers for St Martin's Housing Trust took to the streets during December to raise cash for the cause, which supports homeless people in Norwich.

This year, they raised a record £34,541.85, the most collected by the charity in its 29 years up and running.

Dr Jan Sheldon, its chief executive, said: 'We are delighted to record the best ever Christmas street collection figures. The trustees and I extend our heartfelt thanks to the many volunteers who gave their time to help with our collection, and to the public for all their donations.

MORE: Drive to help the vulnerable as more than 600 people in Norfolk found living in hidden homelessness

'We could not do the work we do without them. Norwich is bucking the national trend and reducing the number of rough sleepers - this would not be possible without the local support we receive.'

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Money from previous years' collections was spent on extending hostel facilities to accommodate an extra seven rough sleepers at the charity's Bishopbridge House hostel.

But the hostel it still often full, and more accommodation and support for homeless people is desperately needed, the charity says.

At the launch of a 2040 vision for Norwich held in November, Dr Sheldon revealed the charity's trustees had committed to developing a new 20-bed accommodation project for those in need.

More details are set to be revealed later this year.

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Dr Sheldon said: 'This year we launch our new strategic plan which outlines our commitment to prevent homelessness and deliver sustained support to vulnerable people in Norfolk.

'The money raised in the 2018 Christmas street collection will go towards funding our new accommodation project which is a key part of our plans for the next three years.'

Last summer, a new Pathways team - a joint initiative between seven bodies - was set up in a bid to reduce homelessness.

It said that in its first three months, it had helped 122 people.

For more information on the charity and its work, click here.