Businesses pledge thousands for Weston's 'most desperate'

PUBLISHED: 12:35 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 12 February 2018

Barry Bailey, representitives from Puxton Park, Tracey Garrett and Richard Nighingale. Picture: Mark Atherton

Barry Bailey, representitives from Puxton Park, Tracey Garrett and Richard Nighingale. Picture: Mark Atherton

Archant

Weston-super-Mare businesses have pledged more than £10,000 to provide much-needed support the town's homeless.

A group of firms have contributed £11,500 to help the town’s ‘most desperate’ by offering emergency B&B accommodation.

North Somerset councillor Richard Nightingale, owner of The Nightingale Group, launched the initiative, which has garnered support from the likes of Puxton Park and Thatchers Cider.

Cllr Nightingale believes ‘it could be easy for any of us to encounter a life-changing challenge and slip through the cracks of society’.

He said: “This has happened over the space of two weeks and it’s fantastic. Local businesses have come together to support the local community.”

The issue of homelessness gained traction on social media in January, with volunteers taking to the streets to support Weston’s least-fortunate residents.

Several churches have since joined forces to create a working party to tackle the issue, and Weston Town Council has pledged £25,000 and is exploring the idea of creating a night shelter.

Cllr Nightingale told the Mercury the district and town councils will take the lead in allocating the funding to those who need it most.

He added: “For many years communities across the country have tried to address these issues with a fairly low success rate.

“In my view the only approach to offering the right support locally must be a joint effort between agencies and the local community.”

MORE: What’s it like to be homeless for a night?

Tracey Garrett, of Lambtrad, said the firm, which runs the town’s McDonald’s franchises, is ‘very proud’ to be involved.

She added: “We need to help the people in the local area who need support.”

HMC Funding managing director Barry Bailey commented: “I’m absolutely over the moon to be involved. This is a great cause and one can never do enough to help other people.”

A Puxton Park spokesman said: “We’re delighted to support local causes, that’s what we’re all about.”

The other businesses who have donated are Chandler Motors, Rapide, Home & Office, and Wicks & Sons.

Cllr Nightingale has created a funding page for the public to contribute. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/richard-nightingale

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