A group of our formerly homeless companions are volunteering in Northampton town centre every Wednesday evening, offering help to those sleeping rough.
The self-titled ‘Rucksack Stomp’ team arrives each week carrying large rucksacks filled with food and useful supplies to hand out. We are now calling on local people to help by donating sleeping bags and warm clothing.
The group includes Bedford man Christian Coley (47, pictured) who was homeless for 16 months before we gave him a place to live and the support he needed. Eighteen months on, Christian is heavily involved with organising the weekly Rucksack Stomp:
“We go out for about five hours every Wednesday evening, walking round and talking to those sleeping in doorways or in more tucked-away places like cemeteries; people have started to recognise and trust us. In one night we can see up to 40 rough sleepers in the town; a very sad situation.
“We hand out hot drinks and food as well as sleeping bags, mats, tents, warm clothing and more.
“We’re often meeting people at their lowest point, so we talk to them and find out what they need, and signpost other sources of support too. It’s very exhausting but very rewarding work. For me, it’s a way to pay forward the kindness shown to me. I know how it feels to be without a home; if we can help those who are sleeping rough, even a little bit, then it’s a job well done.”
Anyone wishing to support the work of the Emmaus Village Carlton Rucksack Stomp can donate sleeping bags as well as warm clothing such as hats, gloves and scarves. Supplies can be dropped off Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am – 4.30pm at the Emmaus Village Carlton reception building, School Lane, Carlton MK43 7LQ