New bid to help Ipswich homeless at the town’s Sailmakers’ shopping centre

Sailmakers Shopping Centre
Centre manager Mike Sorhaindo

Sailmakers Shopping Centre Centre manager Mike Sorhaindo - Credit: Archant

Ipswich’s Sailmakers’ Shopping Centre has linked up with charities for the homeless to promote a scheme to support those without a roof over their heads.

Ipswich’s Help Our Homeless project was being kick-started at the centre on Tuesday at a special event attended by the Mayor, Sarah Barber, and her deputy and predecessor, Roger Fern.

It is being held outside the Emmaus pop-up store in the Centre and will be attended by representatives of the charities, the Police and by former homeless people who have been helped to find accommodation.

It is being backed by organisations that deal with homelessness and associated issues under the umbrella of the Ipswich Homelessness Locality Project and includes Ipswich Housing Action Group, Ipswich Central, Turning Point, Hope in Action, Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, Suffolk Constabulary, Selig Suffolk and Emmaus.

One of the key messages being stressed is the need to donate to the campaign rather than hand over cash to the homeless themselves.

Rob Wragg, the Project’s Street Outreach Coordinator, said: “You might give someone on the street £2 for a cup of coffee and if you multiply that by 20 or 30 then that money enables them to stay where they are.

“You never see a homeless person there with 20 or 30 cups of coffee round them. If they can survive on the streets by begging then getting them to come in and engage with us is so much harder.”

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One of the groups involved is Emmaus, whose Operations Manager Claire Staddon said: “We all deliver services to support people who are street homeless or at risk of being so – and any money given to the campaign will enable these services to reach more individuals to make a difference.

“Our intention is to try to educate the general public that it’s not about handing out but helping up.”

Mike Sorhaindo, Manager of Sailmakers Shopping Centre, said: “Homelessness is an issue here in Ipswich as it is elsewhere and as part of the community we at Sailmakers would like to support this excellent campaign.

“It is about understanding that it is better to give your donation to the organisations which have the expertise and experience to help people back into society.”