Staff from the Quays Medical Practice gave up their free time last night to help homeless people in the area with donations of clothing, food and drink, toiletries and somewhere warm to sit and chat with friends for a few hours. The event was made possible with donations from Shield Security, who provided a security officer for free so they could keep the Wilberforce Medical Centre open later than normal, City Health Care Partnership, Citi Link, Sewells and GMB Union also helped with the cost while staff also donated certain items. Staff from the Quays who gave their time were Practice Manager Denise Wilkinson, Receptionist Claire Garrett and clinical staff Laura Gunstead, Anna Darwick, Louise Raynor and Jacqui Sinclair and another volunteer was Sharon Hutchcroft. Miss Garrett said that they only do this once a year but there is a desire to make it a twice yearly event by also running an evening like this in summer as well as winter but more funding and donations would be needed to make this possible. She said “I believe very passionately in what we’re doing this evening and I would like to see another event like this in summer but we would need extra funding and donations to be able to do it twice a year rather than just annually which we do now. She went on to say “The help from Shield, the CHCP, Citi Link, Sewells and the union has been invaluable and we are very grateful to them, but there aren’t enough services out there for the homeless and we would like to see more being done for them.” Ms Wilkinson also expressed gratitude to those who had donated time and resources to the evening and also said about the wish to run a similar evening in the summer, she said “An evening like this during summer would also be very useful so we can provide things such as sun cream, cold drinks and appropriate clothing like tee shirts because, as we all know, the effects of extreme heat can be just as devastating as the freezing cold, with conditions such as heat exhaustion and skin cancer.” The evening was certainly very well run with staff helping several people who either sleep rough wherever they can or are currently staying in Hostel’s such as Dock House and William Booth House, amongst others, where posters were put up by Mrs Gunstead to advertise the event. Beneficiaries were treated to food such as hot sandwiches, Pot Noodle’s, Mince Pies and biscuits, cups of tea, coffee and hot chocolate and were invited to rummage through stacks of clothing such as jumpers, coats, hats, gloves and scarves.
The Quays Winter Warmers- News Story assignment