Snow may be falling but community spirit is on the rise in Redbridge

Scenes of snowfalll across Ilford

Scenes of snowfalll across Ilford - Credit: Archant

With temperatures plummeting below zero, Redbridge residents are coming together to help the borough’s most vulnerable.

Pranav Bhanot. Photo: Vineet Johri

Pranav Bhanot. Photo: Vineet Johri - Credit: Archant

From emergency accommodation for the borough homeless population, to coordinating snow shovelling trips for the elderly - community spirit is running high.

In Clayhall, resident Pranav Bhanot has distributed 30 shovels to residents on every street.

He said: “I was approached by a few residents in Clayhall, particularly those that have young children and live next to elderly people, concerned about potential slippages.”

Money for the shovels was raised through a crowd funding page and through Clayhall Community Hub Facebook group.

The group also pulled together to gather 10 black bags fall of warm clothing to donate to homeless hostel Jason Lee House, in York Road, this morning (Thursday, March 1).

He added: “It amazing to see so many people from the community engage with each other.

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“Especially as we have so much going on with crime lately, it’s great to see people come together for another reason.”

Redbridge Council also launched its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) last week.

This means that anyone who would have to be turned away due to lack of space at the Salvation Army’s night shelter, in Ilford Town centre, will be placed into a bed and breakfast.

Up to 28 rough sleepers have been accommodated every night at the Salvation Army’s night shelter since it opened in December last year.

During the day, rough sleepers are able to find respite at The Welcome Centre - a day centre in St Mary’s Road.

Manager Sonia Lynch knows of at least five additional rough sleepers who are being housed through SWEP.

“I know of one lady who was sleeping in car with her daughter,” she said.

But, during the time that the Welcome Centre shuts and the night shelter opens, rough sleepers must search for warmth elsewhere.

She added: “I would really like to see a place where there is provision where people can be right until they get to sleep.”

Anyone who sees a rough sleeper in the snow is advised to call homelessness charity Streetlink on: 0300 500 0914

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