Housing and homelessness charity Shelter is urgently appealing for support for its helpline, after receiving almost 63,000 calls from the south-east in the last year alone.
In the last year, the number of calls to the charity’s free helpline from the south-east, which is part-funded by Marks & Spencer, has increased by 8,300 (15 per cent).
With the helpline struggling to meet demand, this includes many people ringing multiple times desperate to get through.
Shockingly, the charity said one in three of the calls answered came from people on the brink of homelessness who faced losing their home within a month.
This comes in the wake of previous analysis by Shelter, which revealed that almost 7,300 children in the region will be homeless this Christmas day.
As the shortage of affordable homes continues to take its toll and demand for the charity’s services increases, Shelter is calling on the public to help them to be there for everyone who needs them this Christmas.
This year, the tenth anniversary of the partnership with Shelter, M&S will again donate five per cent of every sale of its Christmas ‘Food on the Move’ range directly to Shelter’s helpline.
Nadeem Khan, a helpline adviser for Shelter, said: “Every day I speak to people who face losing something as important as the roof over their family’s heads. Hearing the worry in a parent’s voice doesn’t get any easier, and sadly more and more people are coming to us every day, desperate for support.
“Without the money raised by Marks and Spencer’s M&S customers, thousands of calls for help would go unanswered. It’s heart-breaking to imagine someone facing homelessness with nowhere to turn, but the ‘Food on the Move’ range means that something as simple as buying lunch can help us to be there for everyone who needs us.”
Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at M&S, said: “Our partnership with Shelter is hugely important to us, and we proud to play our part in supporting the fantastic work that the charity does. This year has particular significance, with it being a decade since our first fundraising campaign for Shelter, and the funds raised will clearly be as important as ever.
“At this time of year in particular, Shelter’s work and M&S’s support is vital. With many donations to the Shelter helpline coming through our Food on the Move range and coffee sales, every time a customer comes into store for lunch they are helping to ensure no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness alone this Christmas.”
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