Winter Warmth Campaign 2019
A team of volunteers from across the hospitality industry has been out in force this week to help Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) distribute ‘Winter Warmth’ kits to rough sleepers across the UK. The hospitality industry rallied together to provide 3,000 items of clothing and blankets and 18,000 tea bags to be distributed across the four cities, with OAPA estimating the value of its supporters’ contributions to be in the realm of £37,000.
Targeting areas where homelessness is most prevalent, the team of volunteers, made up people from various pub companies and restaurant groups, gathered early on Wednesday 27th November to help OAPA CEO and founder Greg Mangham pack the kits and hand them out to the homeless in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Norwich.
With a huge Arctic blast predicted to send temperatures plummeting this weekend, the volunteers handed out blankets, sleeping bags, coats, gloves, socks, flasks and tea bags in special OAPA branded waterproof backpacks, to help the homeless survive the cold winter months.
OAPA also used initiative to drive awareness of the services it provides amongst homeless communities, acting as a conduit to employment for those struggling to get into work. The charity encouraged people to sign up to the scheme, that would see them given opportunities to finding jobs in the hospitality, pub and restaurant industry.
With an estimated 320,000 homeless people living in Britain , according to Shelter in November 2018, citing individual circumstance and structural factors, like unemployment, as the primary causes for their loss of accommodation, it highlights the necessity of charities like OAPA who are stepping in to tackle these issues. OAPA aims to have placed 800 homeless people in jobs in the hospitality industry by the end of 2021.
Greg Mangham said: “Only A Pavement Away was founded to help get people off the streets and into work in the hospitality industry and, to date, we have managed to place one homeless person a week in work since we launched the charity. Our Winter Warmth campaign was designed to help raise awareness about OAPA, because with more financial donations and more hospitality companies signing up to employ those who are homeless, we can get more people into work. With bitterly cold temperatures predicted from this weekend, it couldn’t have been timelier, and we met many people who were incredibly grateful for the donations today.
“I have been absolutely overwhelmed by people’s generosity. We set up various collection points across our target cities to accept blankets, coats and other items of clothing and we were completely inundated with donations. We also had hordes of people from across the hospitality industry give up their morning to help pack the goodies into special waterproof kit bags and hand them out to the homeless.”