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Winter is coming: Rough sleeper given roof over his head - after spending last Christmas sleeping next to bins

PUBLISHED: 13:23 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:23 07 December 2017

Fred will be spending Christmas in his own home this year thanks to the SHP

Fred will be spending Christmas in his own home this year thanks to the SHP

SHP

Fred will spend Christmas in his own home this year thanks to a Redbridge charity - a far cry from the bin disposal room he spent it in last year.

Thanks to the hard work of charity Single Homeless Project (SHP) Redbridge Floating Support, Fred now has a place to call home.

He had been homeless for three years when the charity started working with him.

Fred said: “I spent last Christmas sleeping next to the bins in a waste disposal room.

“I knew I’d be safe in there because my late Dad was a caretaker and I used to go to work with him when I was a boy.”

Over 18 months, support workers helped him through a detox programme and a major operation, helped him open a bank account and moved him into a home of his own.

This year, Fred will be celebrating Christmas in his own one-bedroom flat in a supported housing complex.

He says: “Christmas can be tough for me.

“I started sleeping rough after I lost my mum, sister, nan and uncle all in the space of four years.

“They were all the support I had in the world.

“But this Christmas I’m going to be warm, happy, and in my own place.

“I’m going to get a little tree and some tinsel. I’m really looking forward to it!”

To learn more about the SHP, visit shp.org.uk/appeal/a-year-of-hope.

Fred is just one example of how people’s life can be turned around when a helping hand is there.

This week, the Recorder launched a campaign to help make this winter a little warmer for those sleeping rough.

Four men from Redbridge’s homeless community died in the last two weeks of November.

The news of the tragic deaths, which are not believed to be suspicious, prompted us at the Recorder to consider what we could do to help.

According to national homeless charity Shelter, one in 48 people in Redbridge are homeless.

They come from all walks of life, and are all ages and ethnicities.

You will have seen people sleeping behind Bodgers, in, shop entrances around Ilford town centre, and in parks across Redbridge.

The average life expectancy of rough sleepers is 47 years, and they are 17 times more likely to have been a victim of violence in the last year.

It is a situation that shames the borough.

Over the next six weeks, the Recorder intends to help those who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness by raising awareness.

We also hope to raise £2,500 for the Ilford Salvation Army.

The money will be used to fund a caseworker who helps rough sleepers who have no access to public funds.

Donate to the campaign here: justgiving.com/fundraising/ilfordrecorderwintercampaign



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