'Stepping stones' working together to tackle homelessness in Ipswich

Ipswich Outreach soup kitchen bus parked at the Cornhill in Ipswich

The Ipswich Outreach bus was parked up at the Cornhill to get people talking about homelessness - Credit: Charlotte Moore

An open event raising awareness is among the "stepping stones"  being taken to tackle homelessness in Ipswich. 

Around 13 organisations were in attendance on Cornhill on Friday with the aim to speak to the public about their work and the ways they are looking to address the many issues associated with homelessness together.

Ipswich Borough Council, Ipswich Housing Action Group (ihAg), Work Well Suffolk, Sanctuary Supported Living and Healthwatch Suffolk were among the attendees. 

Evelyn Crossland from ihAg said: "We always take the opportunity to speak to people to tell them what's available by way of support. 

"Giving money to someone on the street is just a sticking plaster, but we can pick up a person and give them some extra resilience. 

"And knowing who the local groups are is vital - money going to us helps your neighbour, or the person you pass every morning on the way to work."

Information stands outside the Cornhill, Ipswich

13 organisations came together to share their work with the public - and each other - Credit: Charlotte Moore

A range of Ipswich groups cover support for issues from finding shelter, work and healthcare. 

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A representative from Sanctuary Supported Living said: "We help people get ready for independent living, acting as a stepping stone, working on how to break the cycle so that people truly are ready. 

"But homelessness is such a complex issue that it needs a network of organisations working together, so it's great to get to do a public event like this where we're all together and can celebrate the good work being done. 

"So many members of the public we speak to think that nothing is being done, but we are all here, doing everything we can." 

Work Well Suffolk navigator Wendy Frost said: "We want to help anyone who has a barrier to getting work - whether that's a disability, illness, lack of confidence or limited experience.

"Getting a job is a great route to independence and so we're here to mark World Homeless Day with any advice and guidance we can give." 

Ipswich Outreach had tea and coffee to spare for anyone who wanted to talk about the support the soup kitchen can offer, while housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald was discussing the work the council does with both micro home installation and bringing private landlords onto the council's books. 

Emmaus Suffolk has volunteering opportunities aplenty and Healthwatch Suffolk was on hand to help with accessing healthcare services. 

World Homeless Day is celebrated globally on Sunday, October 10.