Picture of the students homeless collectionStudents from University Centre St Helens’ Social Policy, Health and Housing foundation degree have come together to collect an abundance of outerwear and underwear to aid the homeless in St Helens this Christmas.

The collection, containing hats, gloves, scarves, socks, thermals and underwear were handed over to local homeless charity The Hope Centre, who run Hope House, a local project that provide a basic needs and personal care service alongside advice.

Social Policy, Health and Housing Student, Leanne Pye, commented on her involvement with the initiative, saying: “It’s really nice to be able to give back to the community, especially at this time of year. It really opens your eyes to what actually goes on around us, making you realise just how sheltered our lives really are.”

The initiative came in response to the recent spout of cold weather, with temperatures plummeting to below sub-zero across the region. The Met office report that arctic conditions are set to grip Britain in the upcoming weeks, with officials ramping up health warnings for killer cold weather.

The influx of colder weather brings great risk to the homeless. Frostbite is the number one hazard, most common to hands and feet, frostbite related amputations are rising. Not to mention the danger of illness associated with cold weather. The cold vastly lowers immunity and thickens the blood, increasing the risk of everything from infection to heart attack.

Ilaria Brancatelli, Programme Leader for the Social Policy, Health and Housing Degree added: “The students were very passionate about this initiative as they cover several of these issues on the Social Policy, Health and Housing degree course. The festive season is always a busy time of year so it’s inspiring to see the generosity of staff, students and members of the public.”

Sarah Barton, Hope House Centre Manager, added: “We are amazed by the generosity of the students at University Centre St Helens. Their gifts will really make a difference to keep people warm in the cold weather, reminding them they are not forgotten or alone especially at this time of year. A huge thankyou to everyone who has donated.”

The Social Policy, Health and Housing degree offered at University Centre St Helens, provides a fulfilling and stimulating experience that connects theory and practice. Delivered by dedicated and experienced staff, the course aims to give a real insight into social policy, health and housing as a discipline, and to offer hands-on experience to students through employer placements. Applications to study in September 2018 are now open. Visit uc.sthelens.ac.uk to find out more.

Picture of students and tutors with Hope House manager