Leamington woman’s message about homelessness inspires thousands

Homeless GV.
Homeless GV.

A Leamington woman’s inspiring social media post about the homelessness situation in Leamington has helped raise thousands for the town’s night shelter.

Steph Atkin wrote a post on Facebook over the weekend telling the story about how she developed a friendship with a homeless man in Leamington after stopping to give him a hot drink on a cold day.

The 52-year-old’s post tells ‘Steve’s story’ (not his real name) and about how angry and deflated she felt after learning that the LWS Night Shelter has to raise £60,000 for its new premises.

The LWS Night shelter, which ‘Steve’ uses, is currently based at the Priors Club in Tower Street. A fundraising campaign was launched last year to help raise the money to refurbish what is set to be their new premises in Packington Place.

Steph’s post has now been shared more than 2,000 times and has generated more than £6,000 for the shelter.

Steph said: “I got to know *Steve over the last couple of months and I wrote to our MP and I got an unsatisfactory reply. I contacted the shelter and I took some stuff down there at the weekend and I was horrified to learn that they were having to rely on handouts and grants. They have to leave their current premises soon but they have another one to move to, which they were given by the district council on the condition that they raise £60,000 for the refurbishment work.

“I thought that is outrageous especially as the council are selling off their offices and not providing any affordable or social housing.

“It was a kneejerk reaction and I had no idea it would go bonkers. I am absolutely delighted for the shelter but in my book they shouldn’t have to raise the money at all.

“I am delighted it has raised awareness and people said it has made them think but it makes me angry that I live in a country where this goes on.”

As of Friday morning, the LWS Night Shelter Justgiving page was at £23,000.

A spokesperson from the LWS Night Shelter said: “We have been stunned by the response to Steph’s post. Over £6,000 was raised in less than 48 hours, thanks to her moving, heart-felt words about Leamington’s homelessness situation.

“We would like to thank Steph for raising the profile of LWS Night Shelter and of the dire situation that is Leamington’s homelessness problem, and to all who have donated to our crowdfunding page.

“We would also like to thank ‘Steve’ for sharing his extremely personal story, and wish him and all those in similar situations happiness, and an end to their struggle for a place to call home.”

To donate go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lwsnightshelter