VIDEO: Doncaster tent city resident hopes camp will be 'safe haven' for town's homeless
A resident living at a camp for Doncaster's homeless, which sprung up in the town-centre over the weekend, says he hopes it will become a safe haven for people sleeping rough on the town's streets.
Dubbed 'Doncaster Tent City,' the camp was set up on Saturday afternoon on a patch of grass in Waterdale, near to the site of the old Civic Theatre.
As of this morning, there are currently 12 tents on the piece of land, occupied by around 15 people, and volunteers are helping to man the camp 24 hours a day.
Donations of food, clothing, sleeping bags have begun to pour in for people living in the 'tent city'.
Andrew Lewis, 42, is one of the residents at the tent city and says he hopes it will become a 'safe haven' for homeless people in Doncaster.
He added: "There's about 15 residents so far.
"I've been here since day one which was Saturday. And let's hope something comes of it.
"(We want to) get the homeless re-housed before Christmas, basically.
"That's the target.
"If there's anyone out there who can give donations, we would be grateful. From clothes, bedding to food, toiletries - anything that you can think of basically."
Banners have been put up at the camp with the slogan #opsafewinterDoncaster
Karen Johnson, Assistant Director for Communities said: “Homelessness is increasing in towns and cities across the country, which is something that should concern us all.
"We do have some excellent services in Doncaster but clearly the issue affecting some of those that are homeless or rough sleeping are very complex.
"The Council and its partners such as St Leger Homes have been working with volunteers and other organisations for some time to try to address the issue of homelessness in Doncaster. Volunteers and community groups often have unique access to those that rough sleep or who are homeless.
"We have been to site to see the organisers of ‘Tent City to speak to those there and support them into services.
"We have also offered ‘Tent City’ a seat at the table to speak to us and share their knowledge and experience with us.
"We have agreed to work together along with others who are trying to help the homeless, as only if we work together can we go any way in succeeding to help as many people who find themselves homeless or rough sleeping as possible.”
This comes after 'tent cities' occupied by homeless people have been set up in cities including Sheffield, Hull and Leeds since last month.