£21,000 raised for Bedford’s homeless in less than one month

MBTC SMART Prebend St staff
MBTC SMART Prebend St staff

A Christmas appeal to help Bedford’s homeless raised more than £21,000 in one month.

Last week we reported on the SMART Prebend Centre’s Christmas Relief In Bedford

(CRIB) appeal which aims to raise £50,000 to support the homeless day service in Prebend Street in Bedford.

And the generosity of people in Bedford meant Christmas was a little happier for many who would otherwise have the festive season on the town’s streets.

James Whitcomb, business development manager for SMART said: “We have been amazed at the response from the Bedford community in such a short space of time. CRIB is vital as the money raised during this appeal helps to fund the centre throughout the winter months, a time that is extremely challenging for homeless people and rough sleepers.

“Through generous donations we have raised over £21,000 in less than a month, but the centre needs more support to reach our target of £50,000.”

The Prebend Centre is open 365 days of the year offering homeless adults a safe space to access the basics that we all take for granted, such as hot meals, phones, internet, medical advice and showers. SMART workers assist users of the service to make plans to tackle their current problems by working alongside professional partners and other charitable services.

SMART’s chief executive, Anita McCullam said: “Our centre relies on fundraising to keep going and we are very grateful for all the support we receive. I am humbled by the community spirit in Bedford, and by the sheer volume of donations from individuals, businesses, schools, organisations and churches we have received; it’s outstanding.

“We still need an additional £34,000 to hit our target, which will help to keep the centre open every day of the year. The money raised will help with the centre running costs and allow the team to deliver dictated services to help homeless and vulnerably housed people to build kills, gain independence and move forward.

“Funds will also provide Christmas meals, food, clothing, companionship and support.”

Over the past 12 months the centre has served 19,655 meals, provided 9,658 pieces of clothing and bedding, and guests have had 2,992 hot showers.

> To find out about The SMART Prebend Centre, to make donations or to volunteer visit www.smartcjs.org.uk/contact-us/smart-prebend-centre or call 01234 365955.