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Thank you - Redbridge comes together to raise more than £21k to help rough sleepers

PUBLISHED: 17:20 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:28 18 April 2019

Children from Goodmayes Primary School have raised for than £600 for Redbridge Together

Children from Goodmayes Primary School have raised for than £600 for Redbridge Together

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The year-long Redbridge Together campaign to help rough sleepers has come to an end with more than £21,000 raised in donations and a £600,000 council funding boost.

The Redbridge Together campaign was launched in May last year. Picture: Ken MearsThe Redbridge Together campaign was launched in May last year. Picture: Ken Mears

Launched in March last year, the campaign set out to bring businesses big and small together to raise £500,000 to rebuild lives of those living on our streets.

Schools, businesses, faith groups and Recorder readers have dug deep into their pockets and donated a huge £21,123.13.

And Redbridge Council announced in November it would inject an additional £600k into building pioneering homeless hostel Project Malachi, run by the Ilford Salvation Army.

“The Redbridge Together campaign was a really strong demonstration of the entire community,” said SA captain John Clifton.

“This played into the council's decision to add another £600k into Project Malachi through a new arrangement, whereby the council cover the capital costs, and The Salvation Army covers the revenue side.

Ilford business owner Jesminara Rahman has pledged to give £3,000 every year to The Welcome Centre Redbridge Together. Ilford business owner Jesminara Rahman has pledged to give £3,000 every year to The Welcome Centre Redbridge Together.

Our borough is continuing to lead the way in showing a kind and compassionate approach to rough sleeping.”

Over the past year, our readers have helped to raise vital funds by hosting school bake sales, raffles – and running five kilometres each week, in the case of Councillor Khaled Noor – among other initiatives.

Jesminara Rahman, owner of TaxResolute in Cranbrook Road, donated £3,000 to the campaign and Marks and Spencer also contributed thousands in donations and helping co-ordinate the campaign.

Redbridge businesses were encouraged to offer work experience to former rough sleepers through a scheme run by charity Business in The Community Scheme (BITC) – five people have now gained employment.

Among them is Peter, who earned a role in the M&S branch in High Road, Ilford, after years spent sleeping rough.

Peter, 40, used to sleep rough in Havelock Street homeless camp behind Marks and Spencer in Ilford. Now he works for M&S thanks to a scheme run by charity Business in the Community backed by Redbridge Together. Photo: Aaron WalawalkarPeter, 40, used to sleep rough in Havelock Street homeless camp behind Marks and Spencer in Ilford. Now he works for M&S thanks to a scheme run by charity Business in the Community backed by Redbridge Together. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

Just before Christmas, Redbridge Council opened a second night shelter - alongside the Salvation Army run shelter in Clements Road – to house all the borough's rough sleepers until Project Malachi is up and running later this year.

“Our commitment to eradicate rough sleeping by working with partners across Redbridge remains undimmed,” council leader Jas Athwal said.

“The journey of regeneration will take on board all our residents, even those who have fallen on hard times.”

Redbridge Together was an association between Ilford Salvation Army, The Welcome Centre, Ilford BID, the Ilford Recorder and Redbridge Council.

The proceeds of all donations will go to Project Malachi and The Welcome Centre, in St Mary's Road.

Barkingside Cllr Khaled Noor is running 5k every weekend for a year in a bid to raise £1,000 for Redbridge Together.Barkingside Cllr Khaled Noor is running 5k every weekend for a year in a bid to raise £1,000 for Redbridge Together.

The former will see the creation of a temporary hostel for rough sleepers and homeless people made from recycled shipping containers in Chadwick Road.

The Welcome Centre helps with providing hot meals, showers, clothing and laundry but also advice and support, training and employment and a nurse-led clinic supporting health and mental health run by Healthy Living Healthy Lives.

Our coverage has celebrated the work of those fighting to tackle the injustice of homelessness, from providing medical care to reconnecting people with their families.

In collaboration with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, we unearthed the stories of nine people who died homeless in the borough – which has since sadly grown to 10.

Their average age was just 49.

Eight of them had “no recourse to public funds” – meaning they could not access government support, such as housing benefit, due to their immigration status.

We attended inquests, detailing the tragic deaths of Ryszard Najdek and Ricky Robinson.

And we joined volunteers in patrolling the streets at the latest rough sleeper count, showing a marked reduction in numbers but with questionable reliability.

While much has been achieved, it is clear that there is much more to be done to tackle rough sleeping.

Although the campaign has come to an end, the Recorder will continue to report doggedly, and with empathy, on this injustice.

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