Norfolk

Jake Humphrey 'reconnects' with Norwich rough sleepers

Florence giving a hot drink to a rough sleeper Image copyright jake humphrey
Image caption The pair went out on a Saturday morning after a night when temperatures dipped to -7C (19F)

A TV presenter said he took his seven-year-old daughter to hand out hot breakfasts to homeless people to highlight their plight.

BT sports anchor Jake Humphrey and daughter, Florence, went out in his home city of Norwich.

"We have to find a way to reconnect with these people," he said. "Nobody grows up wanting to be on the streets."

Norwich will receive £340,000 from the government's Rough Sleeping Strategy to fund projects to help tackle the issue.

Image copyright Jake Humphrey
Image caption A breakfast invitation from presenter Jake Humphrey

Humphrey told BBC East's Sunday Politics programme that he and Florence arrived in Norwich after a -7C (19F) night last month.

He said "it just hit me" when Florence said she hoped no-one had been sleeping out overnight.

He then put out a message via social media offering a hot breakfast to anyone who had been rough sleeping in the city.

"A couple of people came forward and I made sure that Florence came with me to buy the food and to meet the people," he said.

"If you speak to these people they have had brilliant jobs, they are well-educated, they're smart and they had dreams and ambitions."

Image caption TV presenter Jake Humphrey

He admitted "in some ways, it was a futile gesture because the issue is much wider than that... but I just felt I wanted to do something".

He has since made contact with the St Martins housing charity in Norwich which has a hostel and runs courses to help homeless people get off the streets.

Every autumn councils take a count of rough sleepers and the city council said it found 21 homeless people slept on the streets in 2018.

That was down from 30 in 2017 and 34 in 2016, but in 2010 the figure was four people.

Image copyright Jake Humphrey
Image caption Jake Humphrey was keen to involve his daughter in helping the homeless

"I know huge efforts are being made and homelessness is falling in Norwich, but I think among the general public there is a malaise about this," Humphrey said.

Image caption Jake Humphrey described St Martins Hostel in Norwich as both "brilliant" and "heartbreaking"

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