A HOMELESS charity in Thatcham has been able to offer a bed to a 22-year-old man who had been living in a tent for almost a year, thanks largely to the generosity of Waitrose shoppers.
Young People & Children First raised more than £800 during a collection at the Newbury Waitrose store earlier this month.
The news comes following a hugely positive response from the local community to try to put an end to homelessness in the town.
Founder of the charity, Patsy Stone, said: “We were delighted that the collection went so well and we were able to get enough to pay for his first month’s rent and deposit on the room.
“He is extremely grateful to each and every one who helped in any way at all to enable this to happen, especially those who gave so generously to help raise his rent and deposit.
“It was great that so many people were willing to stop and find out about our charity as we don’t get much publicity since we’re quite small.”
The collection, which took place at the front of the store over the course of a weekend, saw shoppers give generously to the independent charity, including one customer who handed over a £500 cheque.
The charity runs a home, Cornerstone, in Thatcham, for young rough sleepers who are determined to make positive changes in their life.
The four-bed house is rented from Greenham Common Trust and so to meet the rent the young people who are offered a bed must commit to finding work.
Mrs Stone continued: “Our whole ethos is that they have work and want to work, or enrol in an education course.
“Of the 19 people we’ve had, there have only been three who haven’t gone on to be independent young adults.
“However, we don’t get any funding from the council, or the government and so we need funds to buy sheets, blankets, pillows and things like that, as well as money to cover the first month’s rent before the housing benefit comes through.”
For more information on Young People & Children First or to make a donation, visit www.youngpeopleandchildrenfirst.org.uk/