HEALTH packs with hand gel, wipes and soap will be given to rough sleepers in West Berkshire during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The health packs also include advice about where to get extra help during the outbreak of Covid-19

There will also be extra food for rough sleepers, as local charities Newbury Soup Kitchen and Loose Ends step up their work to protect vulnerable people. 

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As services for rough sleepers could be impacted by the coronavirus, a special group is working together to make sure people can still get the help they need. The group includes:

  • West Berkshire Council
  • Two Saints
  • Eight Bells for Mental Health
  • Newbury Soup Kitchen
  • Loose Ends
  • The Community Furniture Project
  • Healthwatch West Berkshire
  • West Berkshire Homeless

Councillor Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley & Cold Ash), lead for housing, said: “We recognise this is an anxious time for all our communities, but particularly our most vulnerable. 

“Together with our partners we are determined to support rough sleepers and ensure that they are protected and cared for, during these challenging times.”

Plans are also being made to accommodate rough sleepers who may need to self-isolate. 

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People living in West Berkshire can donate to the Newbury Foodbank and through new bins at the council’s offices on Market Street, in Newbury. 

Those affected by mental health issues can get help at a drop-in service at the Community Furniture Project and the Eight Bells for Mental Health charity.

Donna Brooks, from Two Saints, said: “Two Saints are working closely with the council and voluntary agencies to minimise the impact of coronavirus to rough sleepers in the local area. 

“Our staff are continuing to support rough sleepers during these difficult times. With our partner agencies we are ensuring that food, medical and sanitation supplies are available. 

“Our approach is being reviewed daily alongside central government advice. We encourage members of the public to use food donation bins to ensure that we can continue our efforts.”