Campaign helps the city’s homeless survive winter

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A CAMPAIGN raising money for older and vulnerable people in the city has reached £11,000.

Now some of the money raised to support MK Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter Campaign, is helping the MK YMCA’s Winter Night Shelter Project.

Due to the lack of emergency accommodation for homeless people in Milton Keynes last year, and serious concerns that this winter someone would die on the streets from exposure to severe cold weather, MK YMCA set up the Winter Night Shelter Project.

Working with local church groups, seven venues have been established across the city to provide free emergency shelter between December and March.

Safe and warm overnight accommodation and food is now being provided for up to 16 men and women each night in church buildings, with each person having their own bedding, towel and toiletries which are stored and then transported to and from each venue every day.

The project is a massive logistical operation which is being run by YMCA’s Mary Courtney who also manages the team of 210 volunteers who give their time to do everything from cooking and deliveries to laundry and training.

Mary has been overwhelmed by the generosity of supporters across the city including Volkswagen, John Lewis and Costco, which have all gifted essential items like bedding and clothing. Thanks also go The Buszy, which offers daily storage space for the bedding.

Mary said: “This is much more than just providing night shelter. This is about giving hope and strength to the people who have found themselves living on the streets, often through no fault of their own.

“We are providing a quality service in an environment where no one is judged and we are always working towards finding longer term solutions for each client.”

The Surviving Winter grant from the MK Community Foundation will provide additional YMCA staff time for the project to enable Mary and her team to fully meet the demands on their service. As well as being partnered with MK YMCA, MK Community Foundation is working with Age UK Milton Keynes, Safe and warm overnight accommodation and food is now being provided for up to 16 men and women each night Safe and warm overnight accommodation and food is now being provided for up to 16 men and women each night The Foodbank and SSAFA Forces Help to ensure funds raised through the Surviving Winter appeal will directly support those most in need.

They are now urging everyone to give whatever they can afford to help the campaign. Donations will help save lives and ease the burden of winter for the most vulnerable communities. > You can help by donating via www.mkcommunityfoundation.co.uk or by calling 01908 690276.