Tackling homelessness this winter is not just a priority for Mansfield District Council but for businesses, volunteers and residents in the town.
This will be the message from the first training session of a homelessness ‘task force’ established to combat rising levels of rough sleeping in the run up to Christmas.
The meeting, which will be held at 6.30pm tonight in the Mansfield Baptist Church, Rosemary Street. will promote the use of the council’s winter night shelter which supports homeless people in the area, encouraging the community to get involved and support the scheme.
It will act as a training session for people who have not worked with the homeless before, and encourages more people to be charitable volunteers this Christmas.
Councillor Barry Answer, portfolio holder for housing, said: “The night shelter is a very important part of the work we do for the homeless.
“It allows us to work with some of the hardest to reach individuals, giving them a safe, clean and warm place to sleep and eat in the coldest months.”
One of the volunteers will attend and who is championing the project is 51-year-old Fiona Dallison - a helper at Mansfield’s Salvation Army.
She said: “I just feel that we need to make a conscious effort to help those who need us.
“We need the community to come together, including businesses, charities and organisations, to take advantage of the enrichment in our town to support these people.”
Mansfield District Council is working with local churches and Derby City Mission to expand the night shelter so it will be open for a total of 90 nights from December to February.
There are five venues confirmed to host the night shelter on a rota - The Stanhope Centre, The Beacon, Chesterfield Road South Methodist Church, Mansfield Baptist Church and St Mark’s Church.
The next meeting will be held on November 15 at Chesterfield Road South Methodist Church, also starting at 6.30pm.