A new city-wide initiative has been launched to make it easier for anyone sleeping rough to get help in Chelmsford.
Street Support is an established, national scheme running throughout the UK. Cities taking part create a bespoke directory of local homelessness and support services. Now, for the first time, there's a dedicated Street Support website and app for Chelmsford.
The Street Support site aims to provide information about all the city's services for single people who are homeless in one place. Anyone sleeping rough should be able to quickly find out how to get help by using the app or website on their phone via the city's free Wi-Fi.
Type in a nearby postcode and you'll be able to find anything from exactly where meals and personal items are available at the time of your search, to drop-in centres and advice about accommodation.
If you aren't homeless but you're worried about someone you've seen sleeping rough in Chelmsford, you can also use the app or website to alert Chelmsford City Council and Chelmsford's rough sleeper outreach service and find emergency advice.
Street Support Chelmsford has been set up by community project Cool to be Kind on behalf of the city's Single Homeless Forum established by Chelmsford City Council. Funding for the project came from The National Lottery, The Essex Community Foundation and CHESS.
The city's voluntary and government services are all part of the directory with a wide range of providers, including Chelmsford City Council, Sanctus, CHESS Homeless, Citizens Advice Chelmsford, Nightstop Essex, The Ideas Hub and many more.
Cllr Stephen Robinson, the Lib Dem Leader of Chelmsford City Council says the launch of Chelmsford's Street Support platform is an important step forward for the city.
"We're very fortunate in Chelmsford to have so many organisations offering help of all kinds, but it isn't always easy to know where to go and how to find it. Becoming homeless and sleeping rough is an incredibly frightening thing to go through.
No-one needs to sleep rough in Chelmsford, as accommodation and support is offered to all. However, if people are sleeping rough, Street Support should make finding support and services easier and less daunting for anyone who needs help. Congratulations to Cool to be Kind, who have shown how effective compassion and determination can be in bringing organisations and people together to be part of this national scheme."
Finding help is just part of what Street Support is set up to do - it enables people to GIVE help too. Anyone using the app or website can find out exactly what items are needed in their area and if you don't have anything on their list, you can also offer items or food that you're willing to donate instead.
You can give money to a range of local organisations making a difference to peoples' lives or offer your skills as a volunteer. Businesses can also make a contribution with sponsorship, funding and support in kind.
If you could spare time to volunteer to help one of Chelmsford's amazing voluntary organisations, or you'd like to donate money or items instead, go to https://streetsupport.net/chelmsford/ to find out more. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor or partner of the project, get in touch with the team at email@example.com.
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