Pluss customers from Taunton and Chard were honoured to present Open Door homeless shelter in Taunton with a cheque for £428 today.
Our thoughtful customers raised the money by doing a 7.6 mile sponsored walk along the Taunton and Bridgwater Canal. For some this is the furthest they have ever walked.
Our customers had carefully researched the charity and also went to visit Open Door Manager, Mark Woodcock, before the walk to find out how they could help. Our customers were concerned by the sharp rise in the number of homeless people sleeping on the streets of Taunton. This is currently about 25 people which is high for a small county town.
Receiving the money today on behalf of Open Door, Mark said "What strikes me most is their thoughtfulness and concern. These are guys who face incredible challenges of their own so to come up with the idea, come to talk to me to find out what we need, and their cheerfulness; it's just fantastic. This is the most important thing for me; the thought and care behind it. The fact they've raised over £420 is a double bonus"
"We will use the money to buy essential clothing such as socks and boxer shorts. Also fresh food. The money will provide over one months worth of breakfasts for everyone who uses the service. Their concern is lovely, really lovely".
Charlotte Smith, 23, from Fivehand, is on the autistic spectrum and is looking for work with Pluss' support. She said "I felt very strongly about sponsoring Open Door because they are a brilliant charity that help and support people who are homeless in Taunton. No-one should ever feel like they do not exist or do not belong. Everyone has a right to be part of our community. The walk itself was an enjoyable experience too. Feeling the sunshine and the cold breeze made the walk pleasant and I would happily do it again."
Rob Woodage, 52, from Wellington is paralysed in his left arm. He said "It was really important to me to do the walk to help with the growing problem of homeless people in Taunton. It was also a personal goal - the furthest I have ever walked."
Paul Butler, 50, from Taunton has Asperger Syndrome and anxiety. He is hoping to find work in warehousing or driving and said "The walk was an important way to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people."
Finally, Peter Varley, 23, who has mild autism added "The walk was for charity but I would do it again because the walk was fun"
Open Door is a charity supporting homeless people in the Taunton area. It is open 9-1 every weekday providing meals, laundry service, shower facilities, clothes exchange and signposting support. Open Door is funded by Taunton Deane Borough Council and voluntary donations. Some of their clients have become Big Issue vendors increasing their independence and financial self sufficiency. For more information visit www.tauntonopendoor.org.uk