Urgent appeal to help hidden homeless
An urgent appeal has been made for blankets and sleeping bags to help a market town's 'hidden homeless' people.
Scores of men and women in the Oswestry area are facing biting winds, sub zero temperature and snow, with only cars, tents, ramshackled buildings and some only an alleyway to protect them.
The community interest company CHALK, based in the town centre, says the scale of the problem isn't fully appreciated.
Gemma Cassin from CHALK revealed that volunteers worked behind the scenes to help those who either did not have a roof over their heads or were living in unheated houses.
"There are plenty of people who have to make the choice between food or warmth and do not heat their homes," she said.
"We know of people who are sleeping in their cars or in makeshift shelters in Oswestry. There are also people who are on the streets but we don't see them as they hide away."
She said CHALK was doing its best to help but desperately needed donations of blankets, duvets, sleeping bags and items like rolls mats.
"We are giving out emergency silver foil blankets to help people keep warm, we are very worried about the weather this weekend. Items like flasks, handwarmers and anything else that can help those with no heating will make a difference."
"Once your body's core is cold it is very difficult to get warm again."
She said the organisation was helping by taking in the blankets of those sleeping rough and drying and airing them so we need spares. It is a dreadful thing to think that this is happening in Oswestry."
Anyone who has spare bedding and other items can drop them off at CHALKS two shop in Oswestry, both on Leg Street.
The organisation is currently organising its fourth Christmas Day lunch which will be held at The Centre in Oak Street between 10am-2pm on December 25.
"We still have some spaces for people who struggle on Christmas Day whether they can not afford Christmas or who are on their own and want to spent the day with others."
"We will also be taking Christmas out to people in their own homes this year which is a new initiative and trying ensuring that there is no home that does not get a visit from Santa in the morning."