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'Busy winter' ahead for homelessness initiative

PUBLISHED: 12:18 27 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:18 27 December 2018

Thin Ice Project provides emergency accommodation and specialist support for those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable over the winter months in Lowestoft and surrounding areas. It runs from November 1 until February 28. Picture: Access Community Trust

Thin Ice Project provides emergency accommodation and specialist support for those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable over the winter months in Lowestoft and surrounding areas. It runs from November 1 until February 28. Picture: Access Community Trust

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A winter weather homeless provision remains "very busy" as emergency bed spaces and support continues to be provided to those in need.

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer. Picture: Julian ClaxtonAccess Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer. Picture: Julian Claxton

The Waveney-wide Thin Ice project has already assisted 33 people since the start of the scheme on November 1.

With emergency accommodation and specialist support for the homeless and vulnerable being extended over the winter months in Lowestoft and the surrounding areas, the project continues to run until the end of February.

It has been launched as part of a community response after concerns had been raised that more needed to be done during the Beast from the East winter crisis.

Since November 1, almost 220 emergency bed spaces have been provided as the project has seen Access Community Trust, Lowestoft Rising, Waveney District Council’s housing team and Lowestoft Foodbank joining forces to provide a night shelter facility every night until February 28.

With an out-of-hours support service number to call, seven days a week between 6pm and 9pm until February 28, as well as four beds at the Fyffe Centre to house those that find themselves homeless or vulnerable during the winter months, Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust, said: “In November we provided 136 emergency bed spaces in Lowestoft.

“Since November 1 we have supported 33 individuals which has meant nearly 220 emergency bed spaces have been provided.

“Some nights we have had nine individuals staying, that is double what we were expecting – so the need is still definitely there.”

With the community coming together to develop this partnership response to homelessness and vulnerability across the area, Mrs Ratzer added: “Our aim is to ensure that no one dies on the streets during severe weather and to ensure that every effort is made to engage individuals with support services during the winter months.”

Donations, funds and support can still be pledged to the project, and with more still needed Mrs Ratzer added: “It’s going to be a busy winter.”

For out-of-hours support through the Thin Ice project, seven days a week between 6pm and 9pm until February 28, call 01502 569033 or you can donate via www.justgiving.com/campaign/thinicewaveney

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