A WINCHESTER University graduate is appealing for donations to help stock up 'survival bags' for Hampshire's rough sleepers.
Luke Addison's Rotaract Backpacks are being kitted out with essential items including sleeping bags, waterproof clothing, hygiene items and first aid kits, plus maps, leaflets and information packs signposting the homeless to organisations which can help them.
The Winchester University Rotaract Club is the youth wing of the city’s Rotary Club and Luke’s team are working in partnership with the city’s homeless organisations including the Trinity Winchester day centre.
Rough sleepers and people from youth charity Fixers helped choose the bag’s size and design and their contents to ensure they are relevant to their needs.
The team is also accompanying the project by shooting a short film called Hidden Winchester exploring the stories of how people have ended up on the streets – due to be released later this month.
Luke, 21, said: “By providing homeless people with the necessary resources in order to survive sleeping rough, we hope this will act as the first stage in allowing them to gradually rebuild their lives.
“The sad truth is that homelessness can hit anyone and many people are just three steps away from it.
“If everyone just ignores the situation it won’t go away and they won’t be able to help themselves if everyone gives up on them.
“We really need support and ask people to give generously.”
Trinity Winchester general manager Sue McKenna said: “These bags are really well thought out, and full of incredibly useful items for people who have found themselves sleeping rough.
“It’s great to know that our younger generation are aware of the plight of others who are less fortunate than themselves. We would like to thank Luke and the team from Rotaract for all their hard work putting them together.”
Visit winchester rotaract.co.uk or contact the group through Facebook or Twitter to donate.