22nd Jul, 2019

Homeless support charity says drug use in district is 'out of control' after finding used needle outside shop

DRUG use in Warwick District is ‘out of control’, a homeless support charity has claimed.

While temperatures across the country plummeted, shelters across the area opened their doors to take in those without a warm bed to sleep in.

Among those was charity Helping Hands, which has been offering beds for up to 15 people as well as hot meals, showers and entertainment during the severe weather sweeping Britain this week.

But while many were grateful to be out of the sub-zero temperatures, there were some who refused the offer of a warm bed.

Chairwoman Lianne Kirkman said the individuals admitted they left the warm to go and ‘get another fix’.

And on Thursday (March 1), while the snow continued to team down, she made the shocking discovery of a used needle on top of the charity’s bin outside the front of the shop on Gloucester Street.

She said: “A young child could have made a snow ball and suffered a needle stick injury.

“The drug use in this district is way out of control and yet there is little money and resource available to help people into rehab.

“This is what is so sad in Leamington and why here at Helping Hands we often get frustrated. The majority of visible rough sleepers in our town have mental health or drug and alcohol issues.

“We are so desperate to help and do so much more, but have to rely entirely on public funding to continue our work.”

The charity has previously paid for people to undergo detox and rehabilitation, but say the costs are often too expensive to support them in this way.

She believes by helping more with their addictions would improve the issue of homelessness.

Lianne said: “The rough sleeper issue here in Leamington is exacerbated by complex issues to do with drugs, alcohol and mental health, that sadly are not being fully addressed due to lack of resources and money needed to be plugged in that direction. Although the council has recently said it is putting money aside, so here’s hoping.

“All of our work at Helping Hands is public funding so help us to help Leamington. People need a hand up not just a hand out.”

Email helpinghandslwkdonation@gmail.com or phone 07809906912 to donate to the charity.

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