The Foxton Centre is taking stock after the harsh winter saw up to 28 homeless people sleeping on their floor.Advertisement
The centre – which works to support Preston’s most marginalised communities – was open around the clock for 10 consecutive days during the recent bad spell of weather.
Jeff Marsh, chief executive officer at The Foxton Centre, said, “Our limit for the emergency Winter Watch overnight service is 20 people, but we just can’t turn away those who need us.
“Being open almost 24/7 takes its toll on our staff. Now we’re out of the worst of it we’ll be carrying out some analysis to determine what we can cope with.
“We’ll be talking with Preston City Council and other partners to help prepare for next winter.”
Tragically, in March, one of the Foxton’s service users collapsed in Preston city centre and later died in hospital. The man, who was in his 60s, has still yet to be formally identified. He had spent the two previous nights at the Foxton after becoming homeless earlier in the week.
Jeff said, “He was a vulnerable person who was known to various agencies. We are pressing for his case to be looked at in detail to find out if the system failed him.
“We’re also looking at what we can learn from services like Crisis, who employ nurse practitioners to carry out health assessments on service users.”
Read more: Man dies in hospital after collapsing in Preston Flag Market
One positive to come from this difficult period has been the involvement of volunteer service users, who have used their “lived experience” to help others still going through a hard time.
Jeff said, “It’s the first time we’ve needed volunteers for Winter Watch, and some of them were users from our Housing First service.
“These people often feel like they have let their families down and that they’re not worth anything. But if you give them responsibility they start to get a sense of contributing.
“They got a lot out of helping, and we really want to build on this in other areas.”
Read more: How you can help people in Preston going through benefit assessment
Have you had any involvement with The Foxton Centre over winter? Let us know in the comments below.