Susan Baker, a Paramedic, and her husband Pete, a Technician, who are both based at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCAS) Didcot Resource Centre, have again organised a Winter Woollies Appeal for the homeless of Oxford this year following the success of their first appeal in 2018.
“Pete and I started the appeal in 2018 due to the increase in homelessness and the high number of homeless deaths throughout the country”, said Susan. “Whilst we are out doing our job we encounter many homeless people sleeping rough in shop doorways or in alleyways and it is so heart breaking that we felt we could no longer sit back and do nothing.”
Thanks to the generosity of SCAS staff across Oxfordshire, along with support from Boots in Wantage, Cancer Research in Wantage and Didcot pet shops, last Thursday (5 December), Susan and Pete, along with Team Leader, Kate Ellis, and Clinical Operations Manager, Craig Heigold, took two ambulances packed full of winter clothing, sleeping bags, boots, toiletries and pet foods out in Oxford city centre to ensure that all the donations went directly to the people who really need them.
Over the course of just a couple of hours, the team found around 20 homeless people in Oxford centre, all of whom were extremely grateful for the additional clothing, bedding and other items.
The remaining donations were all dropped off at two emergency shelters in the city centre which, due to the cold temperatures were opening their doors to more of Oxford’s homeless, ensuing that every item donated went directly to those who need them.
Susan added: “The people we met on the street have nothing, yet their community spirit is humbling, their thanks heartfelt and after our visit last Thursday, they are just a little bit warmer. I would like to thank all of mine and Pete’s colleagues in SCAS for their donations and help in making this year’s appeal happen, to the local charities and shops that supported us, to SCAS for giving us the two ambulances to use and to Kate and Craig for their help on the night too. It’s an amazing cause and we really appreciate all your support.”