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'Show of solidarity' with West Berkshire's homeless planned for tonight

Sleep out planned in Newbury to raise awareness of rough sleeping

Unite to end homeless in Newbury

A SHOW of solidarity with Newbury’s rough sleepers will be held outside the town hall tonight (Thursday). 

The day before West Berkshire Homeless' night shelter closes, and the day of West Berkshire Council setting it budget, people will gather to sleep on the streets. 

The event has been organised by the chairman of the West Berkshire Green Party and co-founder of West Berkshire Save Our Services, Steve Masters, who was homeless for 10 months in 2009. 

He said: “The rationale for the sleep out is to show solidarity with rough sleepers.

“West Berkshire Homeless and the Soup Kitchen have done a fantastic job keeping the guys safe over the last few months.

“While they have housed non-complex individuals, there still remains a significant number of rough sleepers and homeless who have multiple challenges in their lives such as addiction, mental health issues and being sanctioned by the Department of Work and Pensions.

“While we welcome efforts made by voluntary groups there’s still a requirement from the council to up its game and I think that as a local authority and as a community we should be looking for leadership within our civic leaders, who need to be more innovative and look at different options, such as housing first and universal basic income. 

“Save Our Services was set up in response to the cuts and we warned the council that the cuts to adult social care and wider social provision would increase the local level of hardship within the community, including increased rough sleeping." 

The sleepout will be staged outside Newbury town hall between 8pm and 8am and people are asked to attend for an hour or overnight.

For more information on the event visit Mr Master’s Facebook page Another voice in West Berkshire. So far 39 people have said they are attending and 268 are interested.  

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