Rough sleepers across Belfast are receiving clothes to help them keep warm and dry this winter, through the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) ‘Keep Warm’ Scheme.
The clothing and other protective items are being distributed to organisations working directly with rough sleepers across Belfast, so that they can provide a rapid response and help those most in need.
Waterproof coats, fleece gloves, thermal underwear, hats and socks along with foil blankets are being given out as part of the PHA’s Keep Warm Scheme in a bid to help protect people who are sleeping rough from the effects of cold weather.
Colette Rogers, PHA Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager (Belfast) said: “The Public Health Agency was set up, in part, to tackle health inequalities and we know that rough sleepers are at higher risk of cold-related illnesses, compared to the general population.
“By working in partnership with members of the rough sleepers’ forum, we can ensure an immediate response to the cold weather and reduce the impact it has on the city’s most vulnerable people.”
Sinéad Devine, Principal Project Worker at The Salvation Army Centenary House added: “The Salvation Army is delighted to be part of this very practical scheme, helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Often the men arrive at our night shelter with only the clothes they are wearing, and have been very appreciative of these additional items to help protect them against the winter elements.”
There are a limited number of ‘keep warm’ items which will be distributed through outreach services across Belfast: Homeplus in the Botanic area of south Belfast; the Welcome Centre in the St Peter’s area of west Belfast; Rosemount House in the Skegoneil area of north Belfast; and The Salvation Army Centenary House in central Belfast.
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611
Collecting their warm clothes for Belfast’s rough sleepers are Charles McGarry, Rosemount House, north Belfast; Sinéad Devine, Centenary House Crash Facility, central Belfast; Sean Smith, Homeplus, south Belfast and Meadhbha Monaghan, Welcome Centre, east Belfast. Also pictured are Mary Black and Colette Rogers of the Public Health Agency (far left and right), funders of the ‘Keep Warm’ Scheme, to reduce cold related illnesses amongst Belfast most vulnerable people.
Notes to the editor
- Targeting rough sleepers across Belfast is one of the target groups of this year’s PHA Keep Warm Scheme for the Belfast area. Other groups included in this year’s scheme are:
- Adults experiencing fuel poverty who have an underlying illness made worse by cold weather
- Young children living in fuel poverty (under fives)
- Elderly people living alone (over 65s)
 A household is in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain an acceptable level of temperature throughout the home, the occupants would have to spend more than 10% of their income on all household fuel use