The City of Lincoln Council will increase efforts to support rough sleepers through what’s shaping up to be a particularly icy year.

Outside Central Methodist Church on Lincoln’s High Street – a hotspot for rough sleepers. Photo: Chelsea Abbott

Assistance will be financed by a £10 million increase in Government funding, split across U.K. councils, that aims to accommodate rough sleepers and ensure they receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

John Kettley, a local BBC weatherman, warned that 2021 has seen “the coldest start to a new year since 2011,” with Storm Christoff causing snow, red flood warnings and icy temperatures across the North and Midlands.

For rough sleepers, it’s a particularly dangerous situation.

Betel UK supported 678 drug abusers and rough sleepers in 2019, with a quarter of them receiving help from its Nottingham centre, the closest to Lincoln.

Ethel Famkange, an employee at the charity, said: “We ensure residents make a transformation, learning skills from gardening to furniture restoration whilst also raising their self-esteem.”

She explained that residents are able to speak one-to-one with those who have experienced issues with drugs, alcohol or homelessness.

However, while the additional efforts by the council will provide shelter for those on the streets, it may not give them a long-term plan.

Ensuring rough sleepers have access to the COVID-19 vaccine is a priority. Photo: Chelsea Abbott

“It is so vital to get support and, in these times, it’s great to have the temporary accommodation from the council – but they don’t have the opportunity for support, just a roof over their head,” said Ms Famkange.

At any rate, the new increase in support appears to be the key focus for now.

The City of Lincoln Council did not respond to requests for comment.

By Chelsea Abbott

News Editor at The Linc.