A HOMELESSNESS community group has raised more than £1,000 for the fourth year running to help people across Gwent.

Street Life Sarnies, more commonly known as SLS, began in 2014 when organiser Claire Day started making sandwiches and distributing them to homeless shelters in Bristol.

Now the group raises money each Christmas to help make homeless people as comfortable as possible by providing as many sleeping bags as they can across Newport, Monmouthshire, Cardiff, Gloucestershire and Bristol.

Sian Mahoney, 48, from Caldicot, came up with the idea of starting Go Fund Me pages for the group in 2015. This year’s page has raised £1,092.

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Plenty more where these came from - SLS distributed 130 sleeping bags for the homeless this Christmas

“To have raised over £4,000 over the last four years is something we’re all really proud of,” she said. “In the first year we raised money for all sorts like clothes and shoeboxes, but in the last three years we have decided to really focus on sleeping bags.

“It’s so important that in the colder conditions homeless people have a high-quality sleeping bag. We’re lucky we’ve got an agreement with Active Era, which supplies us with good sleeping bags.”


This year the charity has used the funds to donate 130 sleeping bags across South East Wales, Gloucestershire and Bristol, with 13 sleeping bags going to Wallich Rough Sleepers Intervention Team in Newport, and 13 also going to the Gateway Night Shelter in Abergavenny.

Ms Mahoney said she believes attitudes are changing towards homeless people in the UK, adding: “There are so many people sleeping rough now that I felt something had to be done. I think people are starting to become more aware of the homelessness issue and are starting to sympathise more.

“I do fear for homeless people at this time of year, not just because of the loneliness factor but also because people can come out of the pubs after a few drinks and be very mean. It’s not acceptable but it does happen, and I’ve known sleeping bags be stolen from homeless people.”

This year, Ms Mahoney started asking for donations in mid-November, and she has been pleased with the result.

“It always picks up in December and this year has been no different,” she said.

“Perhaps if there weren’t so many charities for the homeless now we may have raised even more. But I’m not complaining, I think it’s great there are so many people trying to help.”