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Crockery and blanket donation helps make homeless hostel more homely

The Rotary Club of Rayleigh Mill are distributing over 1,000 blankets and crockery donated courtesy of Qantas Airways.

The travel company approached the Rotary Club to help them distribute the brand new items that were surplus to need, and HARP, Southend’s Homeless Charity, were grateful to receive some of the goods to use in one of their hostels in Southend.

The 20-bed hostel operates under the Housing First model to provide housing and support for long-term rough sleepers with complex needs. HARP advocate that housing is a basic human right, and this hostel provides permanent accommodation for people straight from the street. It is unique in its inclusive approach to tackling homelessness and operates a much more flexible and empathetic housing style than similar projects, and residents are given space and time to address all the issues that have contributed to their homelessness.

Learning life skills such as shopping, budgeting, and cooking, is a vital part of the journey for some HARP service users, as many have lived a chaotic life and find routine everyday household tasks a challenge. Current resident Robert Walsh, 40, often cooks for the whole house and said “when I was in foster care and children’s homes, we were always expected to get involved. The people living here at HARP are always asking when I am next cooking, it makes me feel so happy to be here. I don’t get paid for it, I do it to see these guys smile, that’s priceless.”

Lisa Walton, HARP’s Community Fundraiser said “life on the streets is anything but structured and many rough sleepers will eat as and when the opportunity arises, so for residents at HARP, re-introducing three meals a day and forward planning is a vital step towards a more balanced and healthy future. This fantastic donation of crockery is so welcomed by our team of staff, volunteers and residents as we try and make our hostels as homely as possible. The blankets are lovely too as we can hand them out to all guests on arrival, it really is a lovely donation.”

Alan Clarke, Club Secretary and District Vocational Committee Chairman said “we’ve supported HARP for years and this is just one more opportunity for us to continue supporting this worthwhile cause.”

If you would like to know more about how HARP support people facing homelessness in Southend visit:

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