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Paramedic Students Show 'Overwhelming' Support for Local Homeless People

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University of Worcester Paramedic Science students have been praised by a local homelessness charity after they rallied together to collect a huge amount of supplies to support the city’s homeless people during the coldest weeks of the year.

Donna King, Director of Services of St Paul’s Hostel, said the response from students had been ‘overwhelming’ as she collected the supplies from the University last week.

Donations included over 4000 tea bags, coffee, soup, 250 pairs of socks, a six-slice toaster and a hot water urn. It is hoped that the goods will enable staff and volunteers to provide increased support to homeless people during the winter months.

Donna King said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Jo Thomas (Senior Lecturer in Pre-Hospital, Unscheduled and Emergency Care) and her students – their response has been overwhelming.

“These donations will help us put extra funding into other areas – for example, when the temperature drops below freezing for three consecutive nights, we open the Night Assessment Centre (NAC) earlier, at 8.30pm rather than 9.30pm, and we will also hope to run a breakfast club in the mornings.

“The students’ generosity will enable us to get our Outreach team in during the early morning hours keeping the rough sleepers in the warm for a little longer, and help them to access appropriate support and accommodation.”

Last year the NAC supported around 150 rough sleepers in Worcester, and Donna is certain that the donations from the students will ensure that lives are saved during the coming winter months.

She said: “The students can pat themselves on the back – they are playing a real part in saving lives in Worcester and I’m really quite choked up by their amazing efforts.”

St Paul’s has been an active partner in the delivery of the University’s Paramedic education for around five years, and provides valuable information about services for homeless people, with current and ex-residents also regularly speaking with students to provide an insight into their experience.

This is the second consecutive year in which the students have made a sizeable donation to the charity, and Paramedic Science Programme Lead, Sharon Hardwick, believes the great response speaks volumes for the students’ character.

She says: “It shows to us that we have recruited the right people. Their drive and determination to make the collection a success demonstrates a huge amount of care for their local community, and shows that they possess the important values of commitment, care and compassion.”