More than 100 people have signed up to champion the rights of homeless people in Blackpool.
A meeting to discuss the perceived problem with homelessness was held at the Winter Gardens, with around 150 people turning up to find out more about ‘Unite Blackpool’, a new campaign by Amazing Graze soup kitchen founder Mark Butcher to push for more support for society’s most vulnerable people.
The campaign has five key points: to highlight the homeless problem in Blackpool, to call for an independent head count of homeless people in the town, to appeal for the creation of a new homeless shelter, to push for a new initiative to identify the genuinely homeless, and to help as many homeless people as possible.
Mark said: “Up to now, we have had about 70 people responding, plus another 36 on the night.
“It’s reassuring to see the support of the general public because it does motivate us, the fact that we have got people behind us. It’s helping to drive the whole thing forward.”
The team of volunteers, who will communicate via radio, plan to carry out eight homeless head counts in November.
The findings will be recorded in eight separate reports, which will then be compiled, shared with the public, and submitted to Blackpool Council.
Mark said: “We are going to categorise the people that we find. We have got people sleeping in tents and caravans who won’t necessarily be seen as homeless but still don’t have a roof over their headsThere are some people against the homeless, but they are few and far between. The attitude can be that some are ‘professional beggars’.”