Mon, 22
12 °C
Tue, 23
14 °C
Wed, 24
15 °C

How to help homeless people during the heatwave

A homelessness charity in Maidenhead has urged anyone who notices a rough sleeper struggling in the heat to give them a hand.

The plea from the Brett Foundation comes as it also seeks extra volunteers for the summer, with a number of its staff unable to keep its King Street centre open for long due to commitments over the school holidays.

It is open between 10am – 12pm on weekdays, about 90 minutes shorter than usual.

Founder Sue Brett hopes extra volunteers will be able to keep the centre open for longer to get people out of the sun.

Homeless people can struggle to find refuge from the extremely high temperatures Maidenhead experienced this week, don’t always have access to water and aren’t equipped for the heat.

“It is incredibly important,” Sue said of needing more volunteers to help for the summer.

“We are their first port of call, they trust us.

“They know that if they come to us, they can get something to help them.”

She added: “In winter, you can always warm yourself up. In summer, you can’t get cooler. You would buy a bottle of water or something. They can’t always do that.”

She said homeless people will often wear most of their clothes for fear of losing them.

“Some of them do have drink and drug issues and, of course, they will just fall asleep in the sun,” she said.

“They are at risk of sun stroke and getting really sun burned as well.”

Sue recommended buying water bottles, or, if a homeless person already has a lot of water, purchasing ice lollies for refreshment. Sun cream would also help, as will suggesting cooler places for them to go or offering a hat.

Visit the King Street centre on Tuesday or Thursday to volunteer.There is no sign of respite from the heat, either, as a meteorologist from Maidenhead believes there is ‘no end in sight’ to the hot weather after a nationwide heatwave took hold this week.

Dr Roger Brugge, a senior support scientist at the University of Reading, said the temperature on Tuesday was 3.4C higher than average for a July in Maidenhead.

Monday was the hottest July day for two years, he reported.

  • Bin collections will start at 6am this week to ensure crews can collect waste when the day is cooler. The council tweeted: “Please ensure that your bin is put out the night before so we are able collect it.”

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