Determined to help those on the streets

Chris Smalley was homeless and is happy to be off the streets, living in shared tenancy in Platt Bridge, Wigan, thanks Lara Nocker, left, and Dawn French, right, founders of the newly registered charity Helping the Homeless

Chris Smalley was homeless and is happy to be off the streets, living in shared tenancy in Platt Bridge, Wigan, thanks Lara Nocker, left, and Dawn French, right, founders of the newly registered charity Helping the Homeless

When Dawn French saw increasing numbers of people living rough in the town she knew she had to do something.

Alarmed at the growing numbers, she teamed up with Lana Nocker who was one of the first people to respond to a Facebook page asking for people willing to help.

Helping the Homesless has grown dramatically since then, with up to 30 people doling out hot food and drinks as well as warm clothing at a weekly street kitchen in Market Place. Dawn and Lana have also put in hours searching the borough for those with nowhere to live and helping them with their needs, including emergency hospital visits, court trips and even getting several people into accommodation.

They are determined that the latest milestone of getting charity status will be the catalyst for a major expansion in their work.

Dawn, 39, said: “Living in Wigan I’ve seen it getting worse and worse.

“One night I just set up a page to get a few volunteers to take some hot food and drinks out once a week. I didn’t really know what to expect but next day there were 500 people on the page. I met up with Lana, who also has a big heart, and we decided to tackle this together. Becoming a registered charity is massive for us, we actually cried when we got the email.

“We can just do so much more for the guys and girls on the streets now. It’s got so much bigger than we thought, The people in Wigan are unbelievable.”

For more information visit https://m.facebook.com/groups/372537853091664 or follow the charity on Twitter @Helpingthehome5