Volunteers in Brighton are tying hot water bottles to trees to help homeless people trying to stay warm this winter.
The Hot Water Bottle Network is made possible by community volunteers who donate hot water bottles.
Notes are attached with directions to local businesses which will provide hot water.
According to Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing board, there were 178 rough sleepers in the city in November 2017. But according to the Hot Water Bottle Network the number is more than 1,000.
More than 40 businesses have signed up to refill hot water bottles, and more than 300 hot water bottles have been given out in Brighton across two winters.
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A spokesperson for the group said: “In this way the network is made up of lots of small acts of kindness that have a direct impact as a citizens’ response to obvious failings of councils and government.”
Set up in 2015 by Pete Wetland, the group now operates across Bristol, Bath, Leicester, Manchester and Brighton. Groups are being set up in London, Cardiff and Nottingham.
In a Facebook post, the Hot Water Bottle Network said: “The warmth of a hot water bottle can literally be a lifesaver for folk living out in the cold on our streets during winter months.”
Dr Tim Worthley, a specialist GP at homeless surgery Arch Healthcare in Brighton, said he has had at least 50 patients who have died from sleeping on the streets of Brighton over three years.
In September, the council announced the severe weather emergency provision was being increased from £40,000 to £70,000, with the expectation of emergency shelters opening their doors more often.
Last winter First Base provided emergency shelter for 243 people, and was £4,184 over budget after 44 nights.
The Hot Water Bottle Network said: “We always need volunteers to help out and need donations of hot water bottles as we gear up for winter – links to donate and get in touch are on the FB page.”
For more information on the Hot Water Bottle Network, visit: www.facebook.com/HotBottlesBrighton