Walker hails launch of ‘Worcester Cares’ strategy to help city’s homeless off the streets

Worcester MP Robin Walker has hailed the launch of a new multi-agency initiative in the city designed to coordinate responses to rough sleeping, begging, and street drinking.

The Worcester Cares strategy, launched this week, brings together local charities, the Police, City Council, local businesses, church groups and many others to coordinate their efforts and provide consistent advice and information to members of the public on what they can do to best help vulnerable people off the streets of Worcester. The focus of the strategy is on homelessness prevention, targeting support at vulnerable individuals as early as possible and intervening to prevent any deterioration in their circumstances.

The campaign acknowledges that local residents are keen to provide both personal and financial assistance to those on the streets, and a number of recommendations have been published which include;

  • Donating to Worcester Cares via text message, enabling the money to go direct to local charities providing food and support;
  • Advising rough sleepers you encounter to visit the Hive to be connected with services that can help them off the streets;
  • Using the StreetLink app or website to report sightings or encounters with rough sleepers so that an outreach worker can follow up and offer support;
  • Volunteering with local charities such as Maggs Day Centre, St Paul’s Hostel, or CCP.

The campaign has been devised by the Worcester City Homeless and Vulnerable People Forum – the inaugural meeting of which Robin attended last Autumn – and is designed to bring about a more collaborative approach to homelessness among local charities, recovery services, and Police and council authorities. One of the Forum’s founding priorities was to develop a clear and consistent message to well-intentioned members of the public on how homelessness prevention services work in Worcester and how they can provide help in an appropriate way.

Speaking at the campaign launch, a spokesperson for Worcester Cares said:

Worcester Cares brings together local charities, the police, local businesses, the city council, churches and many other organisations to coordinate their efforts and work. Whether a person is rough sleeping, begging or street drinking, all the Worcester Cares organisations will work together to help the person off the street.”

Commenting after the launch, Robin said:

“The Worcester Cares strategy has my full support, and I was pleased to be at the first meeting of the local Homelessness and Vulnerable People Forum last year that set the campaign in motion. On a recent visit to St Paul’s Hostel I was updated on the latest developments and am now pleased to see the formal rollout of the campaign across the city.”

“No single charity or organisation can tackle the complex needs of homeless and vulnerable people alone, which is why collaborative working and a joined-up approach are so important. Raising awareness of what members of the public can do to help is also vitally important – constituents frequently contact me asking where and how they can refer rough sleepers to support services, and this information has not always been widely and clearly publicised. ”

Worcester Cares establishes a clear source of advice for those who want to help vulnerable people in our city, with the message of ‘Tell them, tell us’ being key: tell rough sleepers where they can go to access support, and tell local outreach services via StreetLink so they can follow up on referrals and offer support and advice. I will continue to work alongside members of the local Forum to promote and support the new homeless prevention services arising from the Government’s recently introduced Homelessness Reduction Act, aiming to eliminate rough sleeping altogether in the next decade.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information and a full list of FAQs on the Worcester Cares campaign, please see: http://www.worcesterbid.com/worcester-cares-faq

To refer a vulnerable rough sleeper to StreetLink, please visit www.streetlink.org.uk or download the app at the Apple or Google store.

For details of Robin’s recent visit to St Paul’s Hostel, see: http://www.walker4worcester.com/worcester-mp-visits-st-pauls-hostel-to-learn-about-creative-recovery-work-and-local-volunteering/

For Robin’s previous releases on homelessness prevention and details of visits to local charities, see:

http://www.walker4worcester.com/robin-walker-mp-welcomes-creation-of-new-affordable-flats-in-city-centre/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/worcester-mp-supports-homelessness-reduction-bill/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-st-pauls-service-users-to-westminster-2/