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Fundraisers smash charity's Christmas collection record, nearing £40,000

PUBLISHED: 18:21 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:22 06 January 2020

Volunteers Molly and Georgie at the annual pre-Christmas collection for St Martins homelessness charity. Picture: Supplied by St Martins

Volunteers Molly and Georgie at the annual pre-Christmas collection for St Martins homelessness charity. Picture: Supplied by St Martins

Supplied by St Martins

Volunteers have raised a record amount of money for St Martins homelessness charity.

In their annual pre-Christmas collection, volunteers raised a record breaking £39,802 to support homeless people in Norwich.

It is the highest amount of money raised in the 30 years the collection has been running, and £5,000 more than last year.

Chief executive Dr Jan Sheldon said: "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.

"This year we welcomed some new volunteers to our amazing team of established volunteers. We could not do the work we do without them, every penny collected makes a difference and helps people to turn their lives around."

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St Martins is a Norwich-based charity which provides a diverse range of services to reduce the number of rough sleepers in Norwich.

Not only does it offer emergency hostel accommodation, but gives people with the necessary skills to keep off the streets and live independently. Money from this year's collection will go towards a new accommodation project called Housing First, which will provide 20 extra beds for rough sleepers.

Dr Sheldon said: "There is an increased demand upon our services and while there is now more provision for assessment and emergency accommodation, we desperately need more bed space if we are to deliver on our vision of reducing the number of rough sleepers to single figures which we can count on one hand."

Nick Williams, who co-ordinates the street collection along with his wife Gill, said: "Several of our volunteers remarked that members of the public approached them to say that St Martins had helped them when they were homeless.

"It is so rewarding to meet people who have come through tough times thanks to the support of St Martins. The impact of the charity is huge."

In October, the charity was granted permission to open a 16-bed assessment centre on Recorder Road.

For more information on the charity and its work, visit stmartinshousing.org.uk

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