Colleagues at Bolton probation have raised £300 to buy winter essentials, hats and gloves to help keep homeless service users warm during the cold winter months and are also donating food parcels to people in need.
There are currently 37 service users who regularly attend the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company’s Bolton office who are registered as homeless. While homelessness numbers have decreased in comparison to last year, there are still many who are in temporary accommodation and who occasionally spend nights on the street.
Jo Radley, probation case manager, together with several colleagues at the office has undertaken charitable events – including a sponsored 32-mile bicycle ride – to raise cash to buy the winter supplies.
The office has also distributed hundreds of food parcels including toiletries to service users across Bolton and Bury which probation case manager Rosa Wai has secured from the Love World Central Church Manchester. In addition, the Bolton office has issued 50 bags containing emergency supplies for men and 20 bags for women. The bags were donated by Unity Outreach and contained everything from toiletries through to baby wipes and other essentials.
Jo said: “The level of need that we see is humbling. Together with our partner agencies we do everything possible to house people, but housing is in short supply and it’s not always possible to arrange at short notice.
“As a last resort where accommodation is impossible to source straight away, we do what we can to help.”
Sheku Wai is head of distribution for Love World’s outreach programme and manages the supply of food and essentials from the church to Bolton probation.
He said: “Rosa has spoken passionately to church members about the hardships that people face when they leave prison.
“People often come out to nothing and are having to start life all over again with very little support.
“We are blessed to be in a position whereby we are able to help people as they look to get back into society.”
Rosa, who volunteered for probation before becoming a fulltime member of staff last year, said: “The food parcels are having a massively positive impact on those of our service users who are struggling to put enough food on the table.
“It’s not only morally the right thing to do, but it supports compliance because our service users have an additional reason to attend their appointments. That’s a great help because then we can supply the support they need to help them make positive changes to their lives.
“Providing the right welfare to people on probation gets them ready to engage with what we are trying to do, and no-one should be going hungry.”