CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Group of mothers hand out ‘survival’ bags to Camden’s homeless

Group moved to help rough sleepers after death of man in Chalk Farm doorway last month

06 December, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Women on patrol offering hot food to the needy Above right, sleeping bags for the homeless

A KIND-HEARTED group of friends have been handing out “survival bags” to the homeless along with hot, home-made food and touching Christmas cards to lift spirits.

Organiser Laicey Webb, who has lived in Chalk Farm all her life, decided to act after a homeless man was found dead outside the Roundhouse last month.

The cards, with a “Merry Christmas my friend” message, include an invitation to a free Christmas Day dinner at Euston station. Ms Webb, 32, said: “Funding has been cut in so many places now, and it shows. Police, ambul­ance, NHS – they’re all struggling. It’s showing up in all sorts of ways, but there are things people can do to help.”

She added: “We decided in October to do something because it was getting really chilly – and then that man passed away. My partner saw the man’s body being taken away from the Roundhouse. A hot drink might have made a difference.”

The group – mainly women in their 30s – raised more than £1,500, which has been spent on survival packs of camping gear and food.

They spent one night on the street last month and then followed it up with handouts in Cam­den, Chalk Farm, Kentish Town, Archway, Hollo­way and the West End on Saturday and Sunday. Clarence Way Associat­ion let the group use a hall for free throughout the night as a base.

Ms Webb said: “We are all normal girls, most of us are mums. We can all see it is getting a bigger problem around Camden so we decided to do something.”

The New Journal reported last month that a man in his 50s was found dead outside the Round­house in Chalk Farm Road after temperatures plummeted on November 1.

On the streets, Ms Webb said there were complaints about tents being removed while people were away from them. One man did not want a tent as he feared it would be set on fire at night.

Ms Webb said: “We saw one man again and he had read his Christmas card. He came up to us and said: ‘See you at Euston.’ “There may be people who feel they are not wanted or loved. Calling them my friend makes the difference. “It was my best Saturday night out in Camden, for sure. It’s so worth doing, a really good experience.”

Camden Council is seeking the public’s views on tackling rough sleeping. An online consultation runs until February 18.

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