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Police officers to sleep rough in Worcester tonight
POLICE officers in Worcester will brave the elements tonight in a bid to raise funds and awareness of homelessness in the city.
Officers along with colleagues from the West Mercia Probation Trust and outreach workers from St Paul’s Hostel will be taking part in a sleep-out outside the Elgar Statue from 9pm tonight until 6am tomorrow morning.
The event will raise money for Worcester homelessness organisations St Paul’s Hostel and the Maggs Day Centre and was the brainchild of Detective Constable Zoey Carter, who said the greatest problem faced by many offenders when they are released from prison is finding housing.
“Many find they are homeless and return to crime to fund themselves,” she said.
“We want to break that cycle of offending, so we work closely with local authorities and homelessness charities to get these people some kind of accommodation and off the streets.
“We organised the sleep out to raise money for the amazing charities we work with – like St Paul’s and the Maggs Day Centre – as well as raise awareness with the public about the problems of homelessness in South Worcestershire.”
The Integrated Offender Management team at Worcester Police Station works with offenders to discourage them from returning to crime and, if they do, gets them prosecuted as soon as possible.
Marco Gualano from the West Mercia Probation Trust, which works alongside the team, said it was important those without housing in Worcester were given as much help as they need.
“Many of the people we supervise are reliant on the services provided by St Paul’s and the Maggs Day Centre and they used them on a daily basis,” he said.
“As such they are a very good cause, so we wanted to do something to support them and raise awareness about the important work they do.”
Ginette Sadler from St Paul’s Hostel – which provides 46 beds, a ‘dry’ house, a substance misuse service and other services – said the organisation’s Outreach Team works with people sleeping rough to find them accommodation.
“The team consists of specialist workers and operates a tailored approach to address the needs of rough sleepers,” she said.
“St Paul’s is currently running a 16-week Night Assessment Centre which includes a breakfast club and the Outreach Team on site each morning.
“Funds raised through this event will be very gratefully received.”
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