Some of Nottingham's homeless community are set to be given a lifeline this winter thanks to a joint project between Emmanuel House, Ramtech Electronics and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The Winter Shelter Project, which is managed by Emmanuel House staff and a team of volunteers, provides free temporary accommodation and emotional support to rough-sleepers in Nottingham.
This accommodation, which aided 148 homeless individuals during last year's project, is set up in five different church halls across the City. These halls, however, were not designed to be slept in, and therefore didn't have adequate fire safety systems in place.
To overcome this and ensure that the church halls could continue to be used as part of the Winter Shelter Project, staff from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service's Fire Protection Team have therefore been working with Emmanuel House to ensure people are safe within the buildings.
As part of this work, the team have been able to source a temporary smoke alarm system for the halls that has been supplied by Ramtech Electronics, free of charge.
"We're really proud to have been able to get involved in this project and help the team at Emmanuel House," said Paul Cooper, the Service's Business Fire Safety Advocate, who has been heavily involved in the project work.
"As well as being the right thing to do, we also have a responsibility as a Service to ensure that appropriate fire safety systems are in place, and legislation is being followed.
"Having these temporary smoke alarms from Ramtech Electronics has enabled us to fulfil this responsibility and also ensure that some of Nottingham's rough-sleepers, who live within the communities that we serve, are that bit safer this winter."
As well as providing accommodation, the project team also provide physical and emotional support to rough-sleepers, encouraging them to make positive changes in their lives and helping them to secure long term accommodation solutions.
The alarms were distributed this week, on Monday 5 December, and are expected to be in place until the end of this winter's project in March.
Graham Bowpitt, Chair of the Emmanuel House Steering Group that organises the project, said: "We appreciate Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service coming on board and working in partnership with us to keep homeless people safe this winter.
"The increasing number of people rough-sleeping in Nottingham this year is a huge concern, with many people at risk of losing their lives if they are left out in the cold, and this means that the Winter Shelter Project is needed more than ever."