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Readers come up with 'hard cash' for the homeless

The Canterbury-based Kentish Gazette has raised £4,000 for the city’s homeless in just six weeks.

A hard-hitting campaign by the paper led to donations from readers flooding in for its Christmas appeal, in aid of homeless charity East Kent Cyrenians.

Co-ordinated by senior reporter Amanda Wills, the campaign showed the human face of homelessness as the paper featured stories of people from all of walks of life who had found themselves on the streets.

Amanda said: “I spoke to people with harrowing backgrounds who had turned their lives around with the help from the Cyrenians.

“One started sleeping on the streets after he was introduced to heroin by his brother when he was just 16. Another joined the ranks of the homeless after he contracted meningitis and lost his job and his flat.

“Meeting these people changed my perception of homeless people – and made me realise they weren’t all workshy, Sprecial Brew-swilling drug addicts who had brought their problems on themselves.

“Their stories certainly touched our readers, whose response was overwhelming.”

Gazette editor Bob Bounds said: “We were touched by people’s generosity at such a busy time of year. It has been one of our most successful campaigns, particularly as we were asking people for hard cash.”

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