Hartpury’s helping hand gives winter warmth to county’s homeless

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Gloucestershire’s homeless have been given a helping hand to stay warm during the tough winter months thanks to the generosity of Hartpury College’s staff and students.

Hartpury’s new Students’ Union teamed up with The Rucksack Project - a venture founded to provide homeless people with necessities during the cold winter months - to put together 10 rucksacks full of food, warm clothes and sleeping bags to hand out.

“Without donations from places like Hartpury it would be increasingly difficult for us to provide the service we do,” said David Kinghorn, who runs Project Beacon – a Gloucester-based project helping homeless people.

“Where these donations will come in most useful is through Project Beacon; a Saturday night project where we go out on to the streets with people who are sleeping rough and provide food, tea and coffee, soup and clothes to those in need. We are using the rucksacks for those who are street homeless and have very little. The donations have made a massive difference to those who need it most.”

Representatives from the new Students’ Union ventured out at the end of January to hand the collected goods out to some of Gloucester’s homeless as well as spending time with the staff at Gloucester City Mission – a church-based organisation – to find out more about what they do.

Hartpury had been hopeful of putting together a handful of rucksacks and the Students’ Union was overwhelmed by the response from staff and students with 10 full rucksacks being packed and other goods left over.

“The amount of donations to the project left us speechless; it shows how compassionate and keen to help those less fortunate our staff and students are,” said Janine Fox, Hartpury Students’ Union manager.

“These donations are crucial and will change people’s lives. One pack could save a life, and with the amount of donations we received, we know our staff and students have done their part in ensuring more support is available for the most vulnerable at this time of year..

“We hope to work with the Rucksack project again. We are so proud to be making a difference in people’s lives and their partnership with the college can only grow, hopefully also expanding to our local community.”

The Rucksack project aims to supply the homeless with a rucksack full of items such as sleeping bags, a flask of soup, a wool hat, a pair of gloves, a fleece, underwear and tins of food. The extra items collected by the college will be left with Gloucester City Mission to be used when members of the homeless community come to seek help.

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