It may be cold and rainy outside, but this is what homeless people have to deal with every day. This is why the Hockey Society is hosting a campout event to raise money for Colchester Night Shelter. Jess Clayton Berry spoke to them to find out more.
Tonight, the Essex Blades Hockey Club will camp outside in Square 3 from 8pm until the following morning in hopes of raising money for Colchester Night Shelter which offers emergency accommodation for twenty men and women every night in its present Night Shelter.
Anyone who is sleeping on the streets can stay in the Night Shelter every evening as long as there are beds available and they follow the house rules. Colchester Night Shelter also offers a variety of services to aid homeless people such as an Accommodation and Welfare Officer to offer advice and support in finding suitable accommodation; a Personal Development officer to help develop skills, CV writing, job seeking and looking for permanent accommodation; and a Tenancy Sustainment Officer to help ex-clients in their new accommodation in order to prevent repeat homelessness.
Despite all these brilliant services, Colchester Night Shelter is struggling with funding due to the Welfare Reform but still wants to expand in order to help more people. It currently relies on various methods of funding, including from Colchester Borough Council using their Homeless Prevention Fund. This is why charity donations are so important to the running of Colchester Night Shelter and why any money the Hockey team raises through their charity camp out will go towards a good cause.
Homelessness in the UK
Last year, homelessness in the UK increased by 23% with an estimated 320,000 people being deemed homeless. This is not counting those who are undocumented; the real figures may never be known.
If you are in need of somewhere to stay, you can contact Colchester Night Shelter on (01206) 549885, this will take around ten minutes as a risk assessment form will need to be completed based on your specific needs and circumstances. The shelter is open at 7.15pm on weekdays, 5.30pm on Saturdays and 12.30pm on Sundays, it costs £3.00 per night to stay and you would need to score 0.00 on a breathalyser test.
Pictured: Essex Blades Hockey Club provided by Shannon McGuigan