Council to debate Sheffield homeless campaigner's appeal for night cafe

Anthony Cunningham.
Anthony Cunningham.
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A campaigner will bring his latest scheme to help Sheffield's homeless before councillors next week.

Anthony Cunningham will ask for support to create a night cafe for rough sleepers at Wednesday's full council meeting.

Mr Cunningham, the man behind the 'tent city' refuge at Park Hill flats, appealed for help setting up a night shelter when he last appeared before councillors in July.

His petition gained more than 5,000 signatures, but he was told by cabinet member for housing Jayne Dunn that a shelter was 'not the answer'.

Not to be deterred, Mr Cunningham started a new petition calling for a night cafe. This attracted more than 7,000 signatures, and as a result will be debated by the council at Wednesday's meeting - which starts at a new time of 5pm.

"Services at night and weekends are none-existent," wrote Mr Cunningham on his petition.

Anthony is campaigning to help homeless people like John.

Anthony is campaigning to help homeless people like John.

"With the help of local businesses and volunteers we would like to run a night cafe for the most vulnerable within our city and to finally bridge the gap between charities and services from closing to opening.

"The night cafe will also support services getting information out and help guide people to the right places, and be a hub at weekends to act as further support for the outreach teams like Street Pastors and police to bring people instead of tying up emergency services."

In July Coun Dunn praised Mr Cunningham's passion for helping the homeless, and said she would continue to talk to him.

But she said the council's new housing first service - announced the day before the meeting - was a better, more permanent solution.

The council, working with the Cathedral Archer Project and Nomad Opening Doors charities, will spend £354,000 over three years to give 10 homeless people at a time a stable base where they can get the wrap-around’ support to tackle their complex issues.

Mr Cunningham is now selling 'tent city' T-shirts designed by artist Ben Parkin. Celebrities including Def Leppard's Rick Savage have posed wearing the shirts. Any money raised will go to the Roundabout charity.