Halifax woman wants homeless to know 'they've not been forgotten' after project

A selfless woman who volunteers at a homeless shelter in Halifax was out in force to help people in need this winter.

Monday, 21st December 2020, 2:04 pm
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 4:16 pm

Emma Regan, who volunteers at Halifax's Gathering Place Homeless Shelter and Huddersfield Street Kitchen, lined coats and jackets along North Bridge for people to collect if they are in desperate need of clothing this winter.

The project happened yesterday and was a result of thousands of pieces of clothing being turned away at shelters across Calderdale due to Covid-19 contamination fears.

Ms Regan said: "I just wanted to put what donations we had at the shelter to good use.

Emma Regan, who volunteers at Halifax's Gathering Place Homeless Shelter and Huddersfield Street Kitchen

"To stop any contamination of the virus, the coats were cleaned by people who donated them."

Additionally, Ms Regan and her mum Sandra Regan, who helped her during the project, used hand sanitiser, wore masks and kept to social distancing rules throughout the day.

"The police were called to the bridge twice during Sunday and they said they were happy we were keeping to rules," said Ms Regan.

"Working in the voluntary sector, I'm aware of how many people are on the street. I just wanted to let them know they have not been forgotten about.

Coats and jackets along North Bridge for people to collect if they are in desperate need of clothing this winter

"We filled half of North Bridge with the coat and jacket donations. Each piece was labelled in size and gender for people to take.

"It did start to rain so we covered them with bin liners as best we could."

Since the project, Ms Regan said she has been contacted by Calderdale Council.

The council are now bidding to collaborate with Ms Regan with any homeless projects going forward, but said it should not take place on North Bridge due to safety reasons.

Coats and jackets along North Bridge for people to collect if they are in desperate need of clothing this winter

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Jenny Lynn, said: “We support the idea of donating unwanted clothes to those in need, but unfortunately they couldn’t be left on North Bridge for safety reasons.

"Our safety wardens carry out regular safety monitoring of the bridge and it’s vital there’s good visibility across the whole bridge and that nothing obstructs their view.

“We’ve contacted the organiser of the initiative and the coats that have been left already will be donated to the existing clothes bank at the St Augustines Centre charity in Halifax - where they’re also protected from the unpredictable December weather.

"The charity has offered to clean the items and they will be available to collect for those who need them, in a Covid secure way.

Coats and jackets along North Bridge for people to collect if they are in desperate need of clothing this winter

“Calderdale is known for its kindness and as usual the response from our communities to help others has been overwhelming.

"We’re happy to support people’s charitable ideas wherever we can and are in touch with the organiser of this scheme to see how we could safely support any similar initiatives in future.”

For more information about the work of St Augustines and how to donate, visit www.staugustinescentrehalifax.org.uk