This month we’ve been supporting Stoke-on-Trent City Council to deliver its SWEP protocol with our local Destination:Home partners.
Last week SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) was activated by the city council due to cold temperatures and heavy snow.
The protocol involves temporarily opening up local spaces as shelters for people sleeping rough in the cold weather. This is because there is an increased risk of death due to extreme temperatures.
When SWEP is activated, communal areas in places such as shelters, charities, B&Bs and hostels all open to provide vital extra bed spaces.
Last week our local partnership, Destination:Home, supported the city council’s SWEP provision by creating bedspaces for four rough sleepers in communal areas across their services.
Destination:Home, commissioned by the city council, is a partnership of local services and charities, led by us here at Concrete. Our partners are Adullam Homes, North Staffs Mind, Changes Health and Wellbeing and WALK. We work together to deliver a 24/7 support service to people in housing crisis across Stoke-on-Trent.
This month staff from across the partnership schemes worked hard to create comfortable spaces for people facing homelessness to have a warm nights sleep. Services also provided hot food, drinks and ‘winter warmer’ packs. These contained gloves, socks, hot water bottles and a thermal flask.
Our Gateway Team, which is our first point of contact for customers, was also processing more referrals than usual. The team worked closely with housing services across the city to make sure as many people were accommodated as possible in the cold weather.
Staff across Destination:Home schemes also handed out dried food and donated a number of mobile phones to customers so they could stay in touch with support services.
“We’re so proud to support the city council and partner organisations in delivering SWEP,” said Operations Manager Rachael Quarmby.
“Last week staff across Destination:Home stepped up to quickly transform communal areas in our schemes into warm and comfortable temporary bedspaces for those in need.
“This includes bedspaces in our male service in Hanley and from our partner organisation Adullam Homes.
“When temperatures drop there is an increased risk of death for rough sleepers, so it’s vital that we get them off the streets and into a warm bed for the night.
“It’s also important that we provide support in other ways. This includes giving out hot food and drinks and our winter warmer packs.
“SWEP is such an important provision and we’re so proud to help the city council deliver it locally as part of Destination:Home.”
If you are rough sleeping or know someone who is, contact the Rough Sleepers Team for Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme on 0800 970 2304.