Hereford’s new winter shelters for rough sleepers are now in use, and those behind the scheme have explained what is unique about it.

“We are trying to think outside the box,” Herefordshire Council’s rough sleeper outreach team lead Will Neville said.

The council commissioned six bespoke homeless “pods” that can be moved around the county in response to need, he explained, adding: “We are looking at buying more, and at suitable locations for them.”


Mr Neville urged people concerned about homeless individuals to help connect them with support services via the government’s StreetLink site.

Cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing Coun Carole Gandy said the council opted for the pods as the best way to spend government money to address the problem, adding they can be used equally by men or women, “who may work and not want to be disturbed”.

Meanwhile a new night shelter in a former mobile classroom in Symonds Street has 11 put-up beds, a kitchenette and toilet, with further pods due to be installed alongside it.

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Paul Brazier, service manager at Caring for Communities and People (CCP) which runs the shelter, says its use would grow as word got about, adding: “It will be full in the next two weeks.”

Christine Price, who chairs the umbrella body Herefordshire Homeless Forum, said the winter accommodation drive has been “a real partnership effort”, but that the forum is also looking at how best to support people before they become homeless.

“The lack of affordable housing in the county, is a significant factor, along with the cost of living,” she said.


“It comes back to the government and the funding they give local authorities. We won’t find housing overnight to plug that gap.”

In the meantime, residents of the pods and night shelter, and any other rough sleepers, will be given a free nightly evening meal throughout winter at the nearby Union Coffee Shop, in an initiative by newly formed Christian charity The Living Hope.

Co-founder Vikki Thomas, a trained chef, said they had already had “so many” donations from local churches, restaurants and other groups, and offers of volunteering.