Volunteers across the hospitality sector have offered a helping hand to support the Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) charity distribute ‘Winter Warmth’ kits to rough sleepers across the UK.

The team rallied together ahead of the huge Arctic blast that sent temperatures plummeting last weekend (29 November), helping OAPA pack the kits and hand them out in London, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol and Norwich.

The kits included a coat, a blanket and/or a sleeping bag and the team estimated that the value of its helpers’ contributions to be in the realm of £37,000, including their co-operation to provide 3,000 items of clothing and blankets and 18,000 tea bags.

The aim of Only a Pavement Away is to have placed 800 homeless people in jobs in the hospitality sector by the end of 2021. According to Shelter, individual circumstance and structural factors, like unemployment, are the primary causes for their loss of accommodation and has resulted to an estimated 32,000 homeless people living in Britain.

OAPA CEO and founder Greg Mangham said: “I have been absolutely overwhelmed by people’s generosity. We set up various collection points across our target cities to accept blankets, coats and other items of clothing and we were completely inundated with donations. We also had hordes of people from across the hospitality industry give up their morning to help pack the goodies into special waterproof kit bags and hand them out to the homeless.”

Only a Pavement Away is underpinned by a strong commercial and financial benefit to the hospitality, pub & restaurant industry whilst reducing the ever-increasing strain on government funding required for those who find themselves in such extreme circumstances.

Greg Mangham said: “Only A Pavement Away was founded to help get people off the streets and into work in the hospitality industry and, to date, we have managed to place one homeless person a week in work since we launched the charity. 

“Our Winter Warmth​ campaign was designed to help raise awareness about OAPA, because with more financial donations and more hospitality companies signing up to employ those who are homeless, we can get more people into work.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash