The Four Streets Project News
The community coat rack appeal is an annual initiative set up to help struggling members of the Chichester community during the winter months by giving them a warm winter coat free of charge. The scheme was set up four years ago by Donna Ockenden of the The Four Streets Project in partnership with the Chichester Observer and Chichester City Council. On November 16th the Four Streets Project volunteers met outside the Assembly Rooms in North Street for the coat racks official launch. Passers-by donated coats and members of the community in need were able to take one.
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Donna Ockenden and The Four Streets Project are now working with Grandad’s Front Room CIC (Community Interest Company) in Bognor Regis. Grandad’s Front Room was set up in 2016 and they have spent the last three years working to help tackle numerous social issues in the Bognor Regis area. The not for profit charity operates with the sole intention of helping others who need help, for free.
A Chichester primary school contacted Donna Ockenden in her role as founder of The Four Streets Project in order to help prepare vital supplies for members of Chichester’s homeless community. Staff at Midhurst C of E Primary School decided it was important to shed some light on members of society who live in different circumstances. Pupils collected items such as soaps and toothbrushes to create hygiene boxes for the homeless community. Donna said “It was really heart-warming that such young children made such a lot of effort to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city. They are a credit to their school, to their families and to their communities.”
Chichester businesses, members of the public and volunteers all work together every week to help look after the homeless in the city. The support Donna Ockenden and her charity have received has helped The Four Streets Project to grow. Companies including Fenwick’s Cafe in Priory Park Purchases Restaurant in North Street and LA Fish in The Hornet donate food to the charity. The staff at Q Hair and Beauty in Chichester have been rallying round to help the homeless by buying essential toiletries for them. Mayor of the city, Cllr Richard Plowman said: “The Chichester community is great. When a call for help comes out from a charity like the Four Street Project there is no hesitation and local shops have stepped forward immediately so many thanks from all of us”
The Four Streets Project in Chichester has recorded an increase in the number of homeless people being fed in the city. Donna Ockenden, Founder of the Four Streets Project, said “We never miss a night. We are a 365-days-a-year service and we believe in a service based on dignity, respect and compassion. “Our volunteers come from all walks of life but they volunteer with Four Streets because they care about the homeless and want to help bring dignity and compassion to what otherwise would be an extremely difficult existence.”
Donna Ockenden is the founder of The Four Streets Project in Chichester and in a recent article in the Sussex Post she talks about being homeless herself and having the responsibility of her younger siblings. This experience means that Donna is especially keen to do what she can to assist those living on the streets of the city alongside a group of local volunteers.
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Chichester’s Community Coat Rack has its final day for this winter. Donna Ockenden, the organiser, has been delighted with the success of this year’s project. It could not be done without everyone who has donated or helped out and so many people in need have benefitted from this initiative, which is in its third successful year.
Chichester residents who have had a significant effect on the city were recognised for their work at a city council ceremony. Donna Ockenden, who set up The Four Streets Project, which sees volunteers walk through the city speaking to and helping rough sleepers, was presented with an award. Receiving the award, Donna said she was ‘really pleased’ and continued with: “I think it is important to say that the award is for me personally but I consider it to be on behalf of the many volunteers who make up the Four Streets Project and of course we’d be nothing without the people we look after and care for in Chichester
The Community coat rack in Chichester was so successful it ran past Christmas. Supported by the Chichester Post, the coat rack held under the arches at the Assembly Rooms in the city centre has seen hundreds of coats donated and collected by those in need. Donna Ockenden, who set up the initiative said the people of Chichester had been incredibly generous and there was no sign of donations or collections slowing down.
Volunteers from The Four Streets Project were invited to an evening of singing Bernsteins music as part of a yearlong festival in Chichester. The event was held in the Assembly Rooms as a thank you from the community to volunteers.
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