WORKING as a cohesive unit has been the key to helping rough sleepers in Basingstoke in the last year.

Since the first tentative steps of the Real Change, Not Loose Change campaign in 2016, the Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP) has made positive steps in providing a well-rounded, personalised approach to how they help those vulnerable on the streets, in particular entrenched rough sleepers.

With volunteers from services such as the Camrose Centre and the Night Light Winter Shelter working closely with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) housing officers and outreach organisations such as Julian House, the SIP is seeing positive steps in helping find people sheltered accommodation.

In a recent street audit, which was carried out on November 22, officers recorded an estimate of 15 rough sleepers in Basingstoke. This figure is down from last year when it was recorded there were 26 estimated rough sleepers.

Rachel Fletcher, social inclusion manager at BDBC said: “This is an estimate on that given night, but it shows what we are doing is making a difference.

“However, we aren’t resting on our laurels and we know we can’t afford to become complacent.”

These findings have been submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCGL) to help shape the wider picture of how the issue of homelessness can be tackled nationally.

With the work from the SIP, Basingstoke has been recognised as one of the leading areas for the model it uses in its approach.

Basingstoke is one of the towns used as a pilot for the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) model and has been recognised by other local authorities for the work in the town.

Service leader for housing and social inclusion, Kate Randall, said: “What we do is look at each individual case and mould a service to that person.

“We have found that working together with different services makes things move smoothly.”

Chair of the SIP, Councillor Terri Reid added: “This is complex work we are undertaking, but we have seen by working together has really benefited everyone.

“We just need to keep working and finding new ways to work.”

The Real Change, Not Loose Change campaign aims to raise £16,085. For more information or to donate visit real-change-basingstoke-2017.