clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Freezing Winter Weather In London

Filed under:

#SoupKitchen23: Homeless people sleeping in the snow in Sunderland highlights importance of SCSK

As the temperature drops across Sunderland, it’s vital to remember that many people are forced to sleep rough on our streets and are in need of our support.

photo by Jenny Matthews/In Pictures via Getty Images Images

It’s been an icy cold start to December, particularly in the north east. Snow and ice have been a common feature of the landscape as Christmas ticks closer. For many of us, it’s a case of turning up the heating a little bit more, or maybe putting an extra blanket on the bed.

However, for far too many people living rough, the snow and ice is not something which can be solved with such ease. Spending a night on the cold hard streets in minus temperatures isn’t something we should wish on our worst enemy, but yet many people are forced to suffer through it through no fault of their own.

For most of us, having to experience the brutal conditions of sleeping on the streets at all is something we’ll not need to go through. Yet this winter, a large number of people will be sleeping rough on streets across the UK through snow, ice and other harsh elements.

The horrendous news this week that a homeless man was found dead in a car in -10C temperatures broke. The desperation of this person to avoid freezing to death in freezing temperatures is heart-breaking, but sadly, it will likely not be the only instance of this kind over the winter.

Winter weather - January 16th Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

In a country that has the sixth biggest economy in the world and more than its fair share of millionaires and billionaires, people sleeping on the streets is a disgrace. It’s a political and societal embarrassment that in 2023, a nation such as the UK can’t put a roof over the heads of some of our most vulnerable residents. We’ve become a cold and heartless country, and this sadly shows little sign of changing anytime soon.

I’ve headed out and about during this cold snap, and they’re not conditions that anyone should be forced to endure. But trying to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is forced to sleep during these bitter cold weeks and months is impossible, yet it still happens on a basis that is far too often.

Just this week, a pregnant homeless woman visited the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen in need of help. I can’t comprehend how a country that tries to pass itself as civilised can allow things like this to happen.

We as a nation are failing our most vulnerable, and it is only through the kindness of volunteers that people struggling the most receive the help that should be a basic human right.

Two elderly walk past a tent which is part of a homeless... Photo by Ioannis Alexopoulos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As the cost of living crisis continues to loom over the country, the people who are hit the hardest are those living rough.

The kindness of charity work and volunteers is often the only lifeline those living on the streets have. Having a good meal and a friendly face to talk to shouldn’t be too much to ask for but unfortunately, particularly at Christmas time, too many go without either.

It is why, every year, Roker Report continues to support the brilliant and life-saving work of the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen.

Seeing the generosity of those who have donated and knowing that many more will follow suit never fails to make you realise that there are plenty of good people still out there.


Sunderland can’t afford to follow a flawed process in their search for a new head coach


On This Day (28th Feb 1989): Missed penalties and wonder goals in Ewood Park deluge!


Fan Letters: “It felt like a natural ending for Tony Mowbray at Sunderland”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report