Media release – 15/Nov/2022
Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, helps to launch the annual SMART Cold Relief in Bedford (CRIB) Appeal 2022/23
It is a sad reality that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who are homeless or about to become so. As the costs of living continue to increase, many in our own community are facing homelessness, are concerned about losing their homes and are struggling to make ends meet.
Local homeless charity, SMART, has reported a spike in the number of people needing their services and they expect the number will rise as the colder months set in and costs of living continue to increase. Put simply, it’s going to be a long, cold, and tough time for many of our most vulnerable members of the community.
Anita McCallum, CEO of SMART, explains “The SMART Prebend Centre is open throughout the year for people who have no home, have been rough sleeping or, increasingly, have fallen on tough times. It’s a warm, safe place, where our community can come for urgent and ongoing help. We offer free hot food, showers, and clean clothes. Our employees, volunteers and partners provide advice and support on many issues including housing, health, and debt. For many of the people coming through our doors the centre is a lifeline.”
It costs at least £250,000 per year to keep the centre open and Anita McCallum adds: “The team, heating, lighting and food all need to be paid for and, as we all know from our own households, prices are rising – we stay open only through the generosity and kindness of people in and around Bedford and further afield. It is crucial that we keep providing these vital services. For some people all the other options have been exhausted and we are the only people left to turn to.”
On Monday 14th November, the Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, met with some of the SMART team, to officially launch the Cold Relief In Bedford (CRIB) Appeal. This is SMART’s annual campaign to help raise the funds needed to keep this much-needed service available throughout the cold winter months. He said: “I am delighted to support the CRIB appeal again this year; it has become a regular part of the Bedford giving calendar during the winter. The Prebend Centre has been a part of the town’s landscape for over 30 years and I am certain that the community spirit of residents will get behind this campaign and make it a huge success.”
At a time when many of us are making the decision about when and if to switch on the central heating, for some of our neighbours this just isn’t an option, as it means having to give up something else such as food in order to be able to pay the utility bills. No-one should be forced to make this decision. Help SMART to provide a place of warmth and safety this winter by donating to CRIB. The charity is inviting people in the community to donate to their appeal by donating whatever they can realistically afford.
CAN YOU HELP TO PROMOTE THE APPEAL
If you are a member of a local group, church or school and you are able to print and display one of our posters, we will be very grateful for the support.