'Rucksack Stomp' team hit Northampton to help rough sleepers on the street every Wednesday

A group of men who know how hard life on the streets can be are volunteering in Northampton to help homeless people.

A group of men who know how hard life on the streets can be are volunteering in Northampton to help homeless people.

Christian Coley was homeless for 16 months. Now, he helps other rough sleepers in Northampton ever Wednesday.

Christian Coley was homeless for 16 months. Now, he helps other rough sleepers in Northampton ever Wednesday.

The self-titled 'Rucksack Stomp' team is made of formerly homeless men who arrive in Northampton town centre every Wednesday evening to help those sleeping rough.

They bring large rucksacks filled with food and useful supplies to hand out.

But now they are now calling on local people to help by donating sleeping bags and warm clothing.

One of the men, Christian Coley, 47, from Bedford, was homeless for 16 months before charity Emmaus Village Carlton gave him a place to live and helped him back on his feet.

He said: “We go out for about five hours every Wednesday evening, walking round and talking to those sleeping in doorways or in more tucked-away places like cemeteries. People have started to recognise and trust us.

"In one night we can see up to 40 rough sleepers in the town, it's a very sad situation.

"We hand out hot drinks and food as well as sleeping bags, mats, tents, warm clothing and more.

"We’re often meeting people at their lowest point, so we talk to them and find out what they need, and signpost other sources of support too."

Having previously experienced periods of homelessness, all the volunteers are now supported by Emmaus Village Carlton. The charity, based near Carlton, helps 42 formerly homeless people by giving them a home for as long as they need it, meaningful work and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.

Christian said: “It’s very exhausting but very rewarding work. For me, it’s a way to pay forward the kindness shown to me. I know how it feels to be without a home; if we can help those who are sleeping rough, even a little bit, then it’s a job well done.”

Anyone wishing to support the work of the Emmaus Village Carlton Rucksack Stomp can donate sleeping bags as well as warm clothing such as hats, gloves and scarves.

Supplies can be dropped off Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am - 4.30pm at the Emmaus Village Carlton reception building, School Lane, Carlton, MK43 7LQ.