Most of us are looking forward to a typical festive season – seeing family and friends, over-indulging in food and drink and climbing into a warm cosy bed when it’s all over.
But not everyone is so fortunate.
This year Luton-based charity NOAH Enterprise, which offers hope and support to the homeless and excluded, has issued a heartfelt Christmas plea: “Help us to help them.”
If you see anyone sleeping rough, on the streets, in squats or derelict buildings, call 0300 500 0914 or visit www/streetlink.org.uk
This new telephone and website service enables the public to alert local authorities about rough sleepers in the area.
It means you don’t have to walk on by. You can actually do something constructive to ensure they’re connected to the local services and support available to them.
Welcoming the initiative, NOAH chief executive Jim O’Connor said: “It’s a real step forward in helping identify and deal positively with rough sleeping and to help people out of extreme poverty.
“In effect it will contribute to ensuring that no-one spends a second night under the stars.”
With heavy rain and gale force winds predicted over Christmas, NOAH is expecting more than 50 people at their emergency shelter each night.
Mr O’Connor said: “As always we will be open on Christmas Day serving a hearty dinner, singing carols, welcoming Santa with gifts for everyone and sharing enjoyable company.” He added: “More than 100 people make their way to our welfare centre each day in hope – hope of food, clothing, accommodation, of dignity and respect, of help along the pathway into a settled and productive life in the community.
“That wish is most poignant at this time of festivity around the celebration of Christmas.”
So how best can you help? By donating money, furniture, clothing and household items.
£15 will buy someone a change of clothing; £20 will feed them for a week.
You can also volunteer.
> For more information call 01582 728416 or visit www.noahenterprise.org