We have launched our annual Winter Appeal to support rough sleepers during the coldest months of the year, and we have been blown away by the community spirit and generous donations that we have received.

Some of our companions, many of whom have been homeless themselves and are now living and working at Emmaus Gloucestershire, and our staff team, have been busy sorting donations and getting backpacks filled with essential items to distribute to rough sleepers.

We usually collect and distribute items year round to people living on the streets and in temporary accommodation, however during the winter months and Christmas period we increase our offering to help spread some festive cheer and provide people with essential items such as toiletries, warm sleeping bags, and clothing as they face subzero temperatures.

Companions take the lead on this activity as a form of solidarity to people on the streets, as Will explains: “I like helping with the distribution to people on the streets because I feel like I’m making a real difference. It reminds of the times that I was on the other side of the table – I once received help in the same way and I know how it feels to accept the kindness of strangers. I am now in the position to provide that kindness to others.”

We would like to thank everyone who has donated items to our Winter Appeal so far and to the following:

  • Local entrepreneur, George Blandford, who has donated £2,120 to cover the cost of high quality sleeping bags from Go Outdoors. George normally donates 25 sleeping bags every winter, but is in a position to do more this year.
  • Packed With Love Forest of Dean group for donating 80 wash bags as well as gift cards for Greggs, tops, day sacks, gloves and scarves.
  • Lechlade WI craft group for lovingly knitting and crocheting blankets, hats and mittens.
  • Churchdown Village Infants School for donating Christmas shoeboxes.

If you would like to donate money or items to our Winter Appeal, please contact [email protected] or visit our shop in Gloucester. We are currently most in need of male and female underwear and empty rucksacks that are at least 45 litres.