If you’ve seen someone rough sleeping in Preston and want to know what to do next, here are five ways you can help:

If anyone is in immediate danger, always call 999. If the person appears to be under 18, you should contact the police.  

1. Tell StreetLink

If you see someone who is sleeping rough and you’re in England and Wales, the best thing you can do is contact StreetLink. Give as much information as you can about the individual’s location – with what time of day you saw or interacted with them. It will help the outreach teams connected to StreetLink if you can provide as much information about their appearance as possible.

Visit www.streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0914.

2. Stop and Talk

People who are supported by Emmaus Preston who have experienced street homelessness describe the experience as being incredibly isolating. People walk past and avoid eye-contact, particularly in cold weather. Starting a simple conversation can be a source of comfort, to show there’s someone out there who cares and is willing to help. Loneliness is a huge problem.

3. Warm clothing

You could offer warm clothing, coats, blankets or sleeping bags, to people you see sleeping rough. With temperatures dropping below freezing, waterproof clothing, woolly hats and thick gloves could help a lot.

4. Hot drinks and food

A warm drink could make a huge difference to someone’s day. When it’s cold, the gift of a large cup of tea or coffee can help. Ask what the person might want or need if you are unsure.

5. Support your local homelessness charity

By helping a homelessness charity, you are helping people off the street and into a safe and supportive place to live. Emmaus Preston works across Lancashire, helping people who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness since 2009. We offer a home, food, support, meaningful work and training opportunities. You can find out more about Emmaus Preston here.

Ways you can help Emmaus:

Donate money: the cost of living crisis is hitting charities hard. Your donation will help us continue our important work, helping people to rebuild their lives after homelessness.

• Donate your unwanted items: please donate to Emmaus Preston – we’re happy to accept most quality clothing, furniture and household items. The items are then sold in our charity shop to raise vital funds. You can book a collection of large goods free or drop off at our charity shops in Preston.

Thank you for caring