Firefighters in Sheffield have once again opened their doors to rough sleepers as another spell of wintry weather sweeps its way across the city.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service's headquarters on Eyre Street has been converted so people can stay there tonight and on Sunday night, with temperatures expected to plummet as low as -5C.
British Red Cross volunteers will also be on hand, as well as Framework’s Street Outreach Team and Sheffield City Council’s Housing Solutions service, which helps people to access accommodation and support.
Tony Carlin, area manager at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Helping people in need and saving lives is core to our mission as a fire service, so it made perfect sense for us to answer the call for emergency accommodation ahead of winter warnings this weekend.
“This initiative provides comfort, warmth and shelter for rough sleepers and the homeless and is a clear example of public agencies working together to help some of the most vulnerable people in our area.”
“We intend to repeat this next winter and during any other spells of particularly severe weather as we continue to do what we can as a fire service to make our communities safer.”
Coun Jayne Dunn, Sheffield Council's Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety said: “It’s important to us, particularly with the recent cold temperatures that we have seen over the last week or so, that extra care and shelter is provided for those most in need in the city. I’m grateful to all of the partners involved in this initiative who have planned, organised and worked together to make this happen in Sheffield for those who are most vulnerable.”
“We’re hoping that those who have been less likely to come indoors in the past will recognise how much they can benefit from taking us up on our offer of support in the future.”
Joe Tilston, British Red Cross senior emergency response officer for Yorkshire, said: “We have responded to a request from Sheffield City Council alongside South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to support at a scheme providing emergency shelter to the homeless in the city this week.
“British Red Cross volunteers and staff are providing practical and emotional support, including the provision of hot food and drinks, and signposting service users to longer-term support where needed.
“We continue to be on standby to provide support to people affected by the weather conditions across the North of England, working alongside local authorities and the emergency services.”