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St Mungo’s emergency cold weather support for people sleeping rough in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole extended

SWEP is now deactivated: SWEP is no longer running as of 19/12/20212

Due to the increased temperatures as confirmed by the Met office, SWEP will now be deactivated and no longer in place for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Therefore Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is no longer activated



Additional emergency support provided by leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s to people sleeping rough in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is being extended as the freezing temperatures continue.

St Mungo’s, in partnership with BCP Council, activated the area’s severe weather response on Wednesday 7 December in response to the Met Office warnings.

Following a review today (12 December) this provision has now been extended until Monday 19 December.

For the duration of the severe weather response, additional accommodation and support will be made available across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole so that nobody has to sleep on the streets during extreme weather.

Members of the public are being urged to:

- Encourage anyone they see rough sleeping in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to call 01202 315962 or email B& to speak to the Outreach team.

- Dial 999 if someone needs emergency help.

  • Remember Streetlink is not an emergency service –referrals are not immediately so it’s best to use 01202 315962 when the severe weather response is activated, except in cases where 999 emergency services should be contacted.

The St Mungo’s Outreach Team has increased the number of routine shifts being carried out across the area and will be working tirelessly throughout the freezing temperatures to ensure that everybody who is on the streets is offered a safe and warm space to stay indoors overnight.

A range of different emergency accommodation options will be made available to people coming in off the streets, depending on their individual support needs.

As well as providing a safe and warm space for the night, St Mungo’s will be working with people individually to help them find a route away from sleeping rough and to plan their next steps towards longer term accommodation.

Andrew Teale, St Mungo’s Outreach Manager for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, said:

“We know that sleeping rough is dangerous all year round, but freezing temperatures can pose a risk to life. And our specialist teams have been working flat out since last Wednesday to ensure that everyone who is in need and wants to come inside has somewhere safe and warm to stay.

“During periods of cold and extreme weather it is essential that partner agencies, members of the public and people experiencing homelessness are all aware that additional accommodation is available for people sleeping rough.

“We urge members of the public to help by using the referral line 01202 315962 to alert us if they see somebody sleeping on the streets.”

Councillor Karen Rampton, BCP Council Portfolio Holder for People and Homes, said:

“Over the next few days severe weather conditions could really impact the safety and wellbeing of people who are sleeping rough.

“Our street outreach Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), run in partnership with St Mungo’s, helps us to protect these vulnerable people, and the teams will be out speaking to everyone who is sleeping rough to try and encourage them inside over the next few days.

“Unfortunately, not everyone takes up our offers of accommodation during this time and so our outreach teams will be stepping up their efforts to actively encourage everyone to come inside, out of the cold at this time.”

“These efforts also seek to try and find longer term housing solutions for those accommodated under the protocol and prevent a return to the street wherever possible, with ongoing multi-agency work throughout the year to find accommodation and support solutions for all those people who are sleeping rough, regardless of SWEP being in operation.”

Across England, it is the responsibility of Local Authorities alongside local homelessness organisations to devise and carry out a SWEP plan to support people who are sleeping rough in the region.

In the BCP area, the emergency response is activated when the temperature is forecast to be zero degrees or colder for three consecutive nights or when there is a risk of loss of life for people sleeping out in the prevailing weather conditions. The emergency response can also be used in cases where severe storms or rain are predicted.

Posted on Monday 12 December 2022