FREEZING temperatures bring misery for many but none more so than for homeless people living on the streets in Hereford city.

Which is where a dedicated team of volunteers stepped in to bridge the gaps where authorities cannot always help - and they have been amazed by the overwhelming support of residents.

Hereford Homeless Winter Support was set up by six friends concerned by the number of people they saw sleeping rough.

And as the thermostat dropped as low as -6°C during the latest cold snap as snow and ice covered the ground, the group stepped up their efforts to make sure those who lived outside were as safe and well as possible.

This was helped by pop star Ellie Goulding who put her hand in her pocket to pledge £2,000 to the group on their appeal page saying: "Keep up the incredible work. Sorry I can't be there to help."

Meanwhile a video made by Rocket cafe in Church Street went viral on Facebook as owner, Ben Holden, asked customers to leave a donation or buy a meal in reserve for those in need. Homeless people could then come into the cafe and warm up and get something hot to eat and drink.

Annemarie Harris, who works at Fodder, prompted Ben to do the video last week after seeing two people suffering in the cold temperatures.

She said: "I was coming across the cathedral green on my way to work. There was a couple curled up in one of the alcoves in the cathedral. They were shivering and freezing - they had nothing on them.

"I said come to Rocket and get some food and I came in here and told Ben."

She said they didn't expect the huge response - people have been donating around £150 a day, along with other donations such as sleeping bags.

They have worked with Hereford Homeless Winter Support and some of the money has been used for temporary accommodation.

The Winter Support group was set up last December and is run by six core members: Jo Smith, Alice Ford, Amy Tommey, Lucy Hawkins, Michelle Neslon and Gideon Bramble, with the help of family and friends.

They help Hereford's homeless in whatever way they can. They collect food donations, sleeping bags, toiletries, tents, fire wood, clothes etc and then give them out to the homeless in the streets.

They also help homeless people find accommodation and jobs and have held a number of events. On Friday night between 5pm and 9pm, Cookies cafe allowed the group to host a meeting space with food donations from Tesco for homeless people to go to before the St Peter's night shelter opened.

Jo Smith said they want to fill the gaps and while Herefordshire Council, St Peter's Winter Shelter and Open Door Hereford do an amazing job, they want to help out wherever they can as an additional service.

She added: "Last Wednesday we heard about someone who had a cup of tea thrown over him. We went straight out to try and find him to give him a change of clothes.

"It was in the underpass by Trekitt. Someone offered him a cup of tea and he said yes please and they chucked it over him."

Jo explained how some homeless people do not feel comfortable going to the night shelter at St Peter's House due to mental health issues.

She said she has been overwhelmed by the amount of individuals and businesses who have stepped forward to help where they can adding: "It has been amazing. I think people wanted to do something but just didn't know what to do."

Hereford Open Door is an independent charity which runs from St Peter's Church House every Monday and Thursday providing breakfast to help those who find themselves homeless, living in temporary or sub-standard accommodation, or on their own. There is also an extra session on a Friday which is supported by the charity.

St Peter’s Winter Shelter runs from November until March 11 and is able to accommodate a maximum of 16 men and three women each night.

Andy Butterfill, who manages the shelter, said this year has been the busiest it has been compared to previous years.

To add to the Hereford Homeless Winter Support fund, which has so far raised £5, 310, go to