The most vulnerable people in our communities will have extra support as Christmas approaches, thanks to NOAH Enterprise and the council.

Rough sleepers – those who can typically be found sleeping outside in tents, woods and doorways – will benefit from a new rough sleeper outreach service.

And you can support the service by reporting the location of anyone sleeping rough via a free national app called Streetlink.

NOAH has three outreach workers across Central Bedfordshire. The outreach workers will search for, befriend and accompany people rough sleeping to connect with the help they need to secure safe accommodation.

The information you submit via Streetlink helps the team to find people quickly and offer support.

The outreach workers have already been able to help a vulnerable couple who were found sleeping in a tent. During the wet weather the tent flooded and all their belongings and bedding were soaked through. The team helped them to get mental health support and to apply for and receive an offer of accommodation. They are now in a dry, safe place with a front door to offer the safety and dignity that we all need.

The reason we support services like this is so we can make a real, tangible difference to people’s lives. These outreach workers will do the crucial work on the ground that means people can find a safe place to stay, instead of sleeping on the streets.

We would encourage people to have the Streetlink app on their phones as they go about with their Christmas shopping. It only takes a minute to be able to point outreach workers to someone who is sleeping rough and make a real difference.

Go to www.streetlink.org.uk/ to register or download the app from your app store. You will then get an update when the person has been visited by outreach workers and what is being done.