WORCESTER’S Salvation Army had a busy time over Christmas, with over 100 visits from homeless people coming in search of a hot drink, a bed, or just somewhere to get out of the cold.

Between December 24 and January 2 the shelter opened its doors to the homeless, something it normally only does if the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol or SWEP is in place.

Homeless people or rough sleepers were able to come in and get a hot drink, read a book, watch television or play cards with the option to spend the night at the shelter.

Major Diane Henderson said: “We had around 30 people per night coming in with probably 25 staying the night.

“It is really important that people can come here for warmth and somewhere they will be treated like human beings.

“We would like to thank all the members of the public who donated to the Salvation Army over the Christmas period. It was a great show of generosity from the people of Worcester.”

Major Henderson also spoke about plans for new initiatives to be launched this year including a day centre for people with dementia.

She added: “We are looking at launching that in the coming months. There are places around which offer a dementia cafe but most of these are only for a few hours at a time.

“We want to offer somewhere for people with dementia to come for the day.

“We are also hoping to start a programme for elderly men where we can teach them to cook basic meals because what we have learned is that lots of elderly men who are widowers or have become carers cannot cook proper meals.

“We want to be able to run a course over several weeks where they can come in, learn to cook and build up a menu of dishes they can make at home.

“With loneliness being a big issue among the elderly we would hope this leads to a more regular men’s club to be set up some time after Easter. Once again I’d like to thank the people of Worcester for their generosity.”