Students learn from Chichester homeless charity

Donna Ockenden (seated), Mrs Taylor (standing, head of charities at Portsmouth High School) and sixth form house captains and deputy house captains
Donna Ockenden (seated), Mrs Taylor (standing, head of charities at Portsmouth High School) and sixth form house captains and deputy house captains

A Chichester homeless charity has been able to share and insight into a rough-sleeper's world and gain support from a broader public following a school visit.

Founder of Chichester's Four Streets Project, Donna Ockenden, attended Portsmouth High School and told students 'don't walk by' as well as explaining the best ways homeless people can be helped.

Students were motivated to collect tins of soup and chocolate at their Harvest Festival in September following an assembly given by Donna.

READ MORE: Homelessness in Chichester on the rise, charity says
In her talk, she said: "Government figures show there are approximately 320,000 homeless people in Britain.

"Eighty of them live in Chichester district according to recent statistics. The likelihood of homeless people dying before they reach the age of 44 is very high.

READ MORE: Chichester homeless charity's urgent appeal for donations after shop shuts
"Increasingly more and more armed forces veterans are living on the streets as it seems the safety net of social service and mental health help has all but disappeared."

The charity started in 2016 when her two daughters, Caitlin and Phoebe were walking every day to and from the station. Caitlin was in the process of taking part in her Duke of Edinburgh Award at Portsmouth High School and the family became acutely aware of the escalating situation.

READ MORE: Homelessness in Chichester a 'worsening situation'
"We saw more and more sleeping bags in doorways," Donna added.

"One evening 2016 a man called out and said 'help us, we are really hungry', so we divided up our supper that night and took it out to the group. We have never missed a night since then.

"With the help of 30 volunteers, we have never missed a night. We hope to not only feed the homeless but give them back a little bit of dignity and respect."

READ MORE: Hot soup for Chichester’s homeless every night
The volunteers walk the streets of Chichester in pairs with food, soup and water donated by shops or cooked by others.