Community rallies around Chichester charity following urgent appeal

The Four Streets Project founder, Donna Ockenden
The Four Streets Project founder, Donna Ockenden

The founder of a Chichester charity has described how the community has rallied around to support it when it was short of crucial supplies.

The Four Streets Project provides vital support to rough sleepers in North, South, East, and West Street every night of the year.

A rise in the number of rough sleepers in Chichester and the closure of a café which had been donating supplies to the charity, saw the charity issue an urgent appeal for donations.

Following an article in The Observer about the appeal after the closure of North Street's 'Eat', Domino's Pizza offered to donate food to the project on a regular basis. Read the appeal here: Chichester homeless charity's urgent appeal for donations after shop shuts
The Observer approached Greggs to organise donations on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, when Eat had been supplying much-needed food.

Marks and Spencer are also in talks with the charity about the best way the company can provide support.

The charity's founder, Donna Ockenden said: "We are delighted. It was a real worry to us when Eat closed its doors so quickly. The Eat team had been very kind to us over many years but we then had to source alternative food suppliers which is where the Chichester Observer stepped in.

"The way that local business have rallied round is really heartening. We ensure that all the food that is donated by local business is used to support people in need inside the city walls of Chichester.

"I think we have done really well. Thank you to the Chichester Observer for helping us to secure new supplies of food. A big thank you to the local businesses and those who have helped us for a number of years and thank you to those business who have started helping us more recently.

"We are continuing to see growing numbers of people on the streets of Chichester. On Sunday 16 our volunteers provided food for 21 hungry people. Those were all homeless people who were known to us and we have been helping over many months, many of whom have roots in the district."

Donna said the food is taken by volunteers who are 'meeting hungry people within the hour'.

Toni Antram, store manager of Chichester Domino’s, said: “We are happy to do our bit for the Four Streets Project by donating hot handmade pizzas to the homeless. This is a fantastic cause and we’re proud to be able to offer our support to the local community.”

The past weekend saw volunteers at the Four Streets Project at their busiest with a record-breaking 21 homeless people fed within the city walls on Sunday night (June 16).

The charity has recently released figures which reveal the number of rough sleepers in Chichester increase from March 1 to May 30, the lowest number being four people in March up to 19 people on May 18. Read more about the increase here: Homelessness in Chichester on the rise, charity says
Pret A Manger donate food to the project on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; La Fish donate freshly prepared food on Mondays and Wednesdays; Domino's Pizza donate freshly prepared pizza on Tuesdays and Thursdays; Fenwicks Café donate water; Purchases provide soup from Monday through to Friday using local vegetables from Munneries; Hobby bakers, Clare and Lynn donate cakes to the project.

Read more about the project on the Facebook page: The Chichester Four Streets Project