A Wirral Chamber of Commerce social media campaign has led to the donation of more than one hundred rucksacks of essential items to support Wirral’s homeless.
The Chamber organised a Rucksack Project, a Facebook initiative to help those sleeping rough on the streets during the freezing winter months. Businesses and individuals showed their support by pledging or donating rucksacks filed with items such as hats, gloves, blankets, together with toiletries and food.
At a presentation held at The Lauries in Birkenhead many of the items collected were handed over by Wirral Chamber of Commerce to YMCA Wirral, to be used by its users during the winter months. Donations will also be distributed to other homeless support initiatives.
Nigel Hughes, Chief Executive of YMCA Wirral said, "It is fantastic that businesses and individuals, despite these times of austerity, have been so generous in making such donations. It is inspiring that so many people can rally together and support those who are in the greatest need.
"It's nice to know that across Wirral and further afield people have taken time to get involved in the Rucksack Project and were prepared to help those who are less fortunate. Something like this is quite overwhelming for those who use the centre, and such is the life saving impact it will make. I would like to say thank you to Wirral Chamber of Commerce for its work in turning an idea to such a successful and important reality, and, of course, to everyone who have kindly donated items for the rucksacks.”
Staff and volunteers of YMCA Wirral will be on duty again this year at its Night Shelter – which has been operating since 2008 - trying to ensure that no one has to survive or even die on the streets, and also to provide hot meals and a warm place to stay over the Christmas period. During 2015, YMCA Wirral provided 2,745 bed nights to people in crisis.
During the presentation, YMCA Wirral made a special award to the Chamber presenting a Certificate for Excellence in the Community.
Sharon Stanton, Head of Commercial Services, Wirral Chamber of Commerce, said, “We have only been promoting this initiative through Facebook for a short time and the response has been both brilliant and humbling. As a growing Chamber we want to be do our best for Wirral, and at this time of year there are many who are facing extreme hardship on the streets, so we were delighted to support the work being carried out by YMCA Wirral.
She added, “We have never done this type of initiative before, but the response has been unbelievable, so next year we will be looking at a Rucksack Project being even bigger and better.“