Volunteers brave a night on the streets to support homeless
VOLUNTEERS have raised more than £1,600 by sleeping rough to raise money for the homeless.
The 12-strong group from Cheshire Streetwise CIC and Co-operative Funeralcare Macclesfield, including four volunteers who had been homeless themselves, spent the night under Macclesfield train station’s underpass.
The money raised, which has already smashed the total from last year’s event of just more than £1,000, will go towards a Christmas dinner for those in need and emergency accommodation for homeless women in the town.
Maggie Falconer, who runs Cheshire Streetwise, a community interest company that provides hot meals for people who cannot afford to buy food, said: “We were lucky as the weather was mild. People were so nice to us and many of them spoke of knowing someone who had been homeless.
“It was amazing to hear people’s stories and really brought home how close to homelessness any of us can be. It can be a relationship breakdown, losing a job or moving to a new town.”
She added: “We also want to help provide more accommodation for homeless women.
“There tend to be more homeless men so there are hostels for them but not as many places for women.” Cheshire Streetwise provides hot meals for around 40 people every Sunday at Elim Church.
And Maggie estimates there are around 10 people currently homeless in the town.
She said: “The real number of homeless people is much higher than people think.
“People sofa surf until they’ve worn out their welcome or sleep in wellhidden places so don’t get counted”.
Speaking about their own experience of being homeless for the night, she said: “People who hadn’t done it before found it a real eye-opener. We just felt so lucky to go home to a bath and a bed. I didn’t sleep at all as you just feel so vulnerable. I don’t think I’d last a week doing it for real”.
She added: “Cheshire is such a wealthy county and so not really thought of as having a homeless issue but anyone who comes to see us can see that’s not true.”
The team were also given a vanload of food by Tesco Hibel Road branch’s community champion Sheena King. To donate go to crowdfunding.justgiving.com/mark-bolton.
To volunteer at Cheshire Streetwise contact Maggie on 0771 950 9061 or at email@example.com.
●● The Quint Group ditched their suits to take on the Born Survivor challenge and raise more than £1,500 for charity