‘Dramatic surge of donations’ for SMART Prebend Centre thanks to Bedford Independent readers

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SMART Prebend staff thanks

SMART Prebend Centre have said “thank you” to Bedford Independent readers after our story about their Christmas appeal created a dramatic surge of donations, helping them achieve almost half of their campaign target in less than a month.

The annual Christmas Relief In Bedford (CRIB) appeal aims to raise £50,000 to support the homeless day service on Prebend Street in Bedford.

The cash will provide hot meals, food, clothing and support to those who are most at need throughout the winter months.

James Whitcomb, Business Development Manager for SMART said: “We were amazed at the response from the online Bedford Independent article and received a large volume of donations shortly after your Facebook post, so thank you so much for your support.

“CRIB is vital as the money raised during this appeal helps to fund the centre throughout the winter months, a time that is particularly brutal for homeless people and rough sleepers.”

Through generous donations the CRIB appeal has already raised over £21,000 but the centre needs more support to reach their target of £50,000.

SMART’s CEO, Anita McCullam said: “Our centre relies on fundraising to keep going and we are very grateful for all the support we receive…

“I am humbled by the community spirit in Bedford, and by the sheer volume of donations from individuals, businesses, schools, organisations and churches we have received; it’s outstanding.

“We still need an additional £29,000 to hit our target, which will help to keep the centre open every day of the year. I would like to extend my personal thanks to Bedford Independent readers for their donations and shares on social media (96 on Facebook shares alone).

The Prebend Centre is open 365 days of the year offering homeless adults a safe space to access the basics that we all take for granted, such as hot meals, phones, internet, medical advice and showers.

Over the past 12 months the centre has:

  • served 19,655 meals
  • provided 9,658 pieces of clothing and bedding
  • allowed guests to have 2,992 hot showers

Supporting people to meet their basic needs is a starting point, but the team also work with professional partners and charities in Bedford to help homeless and vulnerable people learn essential skills and find housing, allowing them to reintegrate into society.

This year the centre will be providing hospitality with a festive touch for over 70 visitors every day in December. Everyone who uses the service will receive a freshly cooked two course meal on Christmas day, refreshments, and food parcels to take away.

As little as £5 can provide breakfast for 13 homeless people and will make a real difference to the centre. Donations can be made online, taken to the centre or sent by post.

To find out more about The SMART Prebend Centre, to make donations, and to volunteer please visit www.smartcjs.org.uk/contact-us/smart-prebend-centre or drop by the centre at 12 Prebend St, Bedford MK40 1QW. You can also call them on 01234 365955.