HOMELESS people across Warwickshire will again be given a helping handbag this Christmas.
Former Stratford mayor Victoria Alcock has launched her annual ‘Handbags for the Homeless’ campaign.
The mum-of-three is collecting the bags from the surrounding community which will be filled with toiletries and other essentials. They will be passed on to charities including St Basil’s, Leamington-based charity Helping hands and women’s and men’s refuges.
She began the campaign five years ago when she received some 50 bags – a number which has more than quadrupled over the years.
The idea struck her after she read about an abuse victim living on the streets. She mentioned she had been given lots of paperwork from support services but had nowhere to keep them.
Coun Alcock, who represents the Bishopton ward on Stratford District Council, said: “I, like a majority of women, keep everything in my handbag! The thought of having nowhere to keep important addresses, or even a toothbrush made me want to help. So many women, and men have to leave everything behind if they are running from abuse.
“I wanted to do more than just bags. After talking to a young homeless women on the streets I asked if she needed anything. I never give money, but will help with something else and she asked me for sanitary items. I was shocked. She had barely eaten, but had to choose between food and the very basic of hygiene items. Condoms can be given out for free, but there is nowhere to get sanitary products.
“Sanitary products are one of the most shoplifted items for homeless women. There is nowhere to get it free, so when women are desperate they steal it. I always ask for them to be included and any extras people can give.”
Other essentials could include toothbrushes, soap bars and this year brand new underwear, for both men and women, has been requested by charities.
The bags should be dropped with or sent to Coun Alcock before November 25.
Message Victoria Alcock on Facebook for more details.