Town council to give £25,000 to help homeless

PUBLISHED: 07:17 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:08 25 January 2018

Andy who shelters from the winter weather in the open air shelters along Weston seafront.

Andy who shelters from the winter weather in the open air shelters along Weston seafront.

Archant

Weston Town Council has earmarked £25,000 to provide a shelter for people sleeping rough in the town.

At a council meeting on Monday, the Labour group proposed a budget amendment address the issue of rough-sleeping in Weston.

Councillors suggested £25,000 be taken from the community services budget to set up a bus night shelter which could cater for up to 14 people currently sleeping on the streets.

The Labour group’s proposal states: “Over the past year there has been a huge increase in awareness and a groundswell of activism from local people wanting to help.

“The Facebook group Weston-super-Mare Homeless has almost 1,800 members who have shown their eagerness to offer real, practical help.

“It is time to act and we believe that the town council is ideally placed to step up and take a leading role in drawing together all the groups and individuals to work towards providing a solution.

“What we propose is one that is financially feasibly and achievable in a relatively short space of time.”

Similar projects are run in the Isle of Wight and Ipswich, and see buses act as a mobile shelter with between eight and 14 sleeping pods.

Labour councillors suggested the town council could help create a registered charity or community group.

Anne Bunn, co-chair of Heart of Weston, also called on the council to do build on the ‘huge surge of care and concern in the town’.

She said: “We are working in the town to get a permanent homeless shelter. We are working with Churches Together and building on their knowledge.

“There’s much that can be done and we have many citizens here who are happy and willing and want to do it.

“I would like to see the town council come forward to do something really innovative to shame North Somerset into following suit. You can finally do something to make your citizens proud.”

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