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Chadwell Heath couple brave cold to help Romford homeless this winter

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:15 29 November 2019

Volunteers from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex Russell

Volunteers from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex Russell

Archant

With a simple gesture of giving their unused clothes to the homeless in Romford a couple have started a team that goes out twice a week to help rough sleepers.

Volunteers from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex RussellVolunteers from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex Russell

Alex Russell was with her fiance Anthony Yallop thinking about cleaning up their flat and 
getting rid of unused clothing 
and food when the idea for 
Help the Homeless This Winter started.

Alex, who lives in Chadwell Heath but works in Romford. sees the large number of homeless in the town centre every day and thought instead of donating the items to a charity, why not go out herself and give it to people who needed it most during the cold months.

She said: "I was researching volunteering but it's difficult to find the time around working full-time, so I thought why not just do it myself?"

Alex and Anthony started out handing items to the rough sleepers in Romford in October and they quickly enlisted family members to help.

Sharon Yallop, Rebekah Hughes and Anthony Yallop from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex RussellSharon Yallop, Rebekah Hughes and Anthony Yallop from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex Russell

Their family members were also excited to be able to get out and actually do something to help people.

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Alex then spread the word on Facebook seeking donations and now a team of about 10 volunteers goes out twice a week.

Every Thursday and Saturday they meet outside the Primark on South Street with two people staying at the table but everyone else going out and handing out gloves, socks, hand warmers 
and other items that are much needed.

Volunteers from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex RussellVolunteers from Help the Homeless This Winter. Picture: Alex Russell

Alex said: "When we first went out some of the rough sleepers we met were shy or nervous but we were able to earn their trust over time and now we have regulars who get there early waiting for us to show up.

"We've been very fortunate that we've met some lovely people and we consider them our friends now."

Alex is now looking to get a heated, permanent meeting space they could use so they could deliver their items to rough sleepers as it gets even colder.

Despite the name, Alex aims to continue helping the homeless beyond the winter.

Sharon Yallop (L), Alex Russell (R) with homeless man Peter. Picture: Alex RussellSharon Yallop (L), Alex Russell (R) with homeless man Peter. Picture: Alex Russell

Information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/444248576225988 or by emailing Helpthehomelessthiswinter@outlook.com.

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