Housing

Big Issue man raises cash for rough sleepers in need of clothes

Popular vendor in Exeter raises money to help people struggling with homelessness on the streets

Popular Big Issue vendor Andrew McGarry has donated £100-worth of socks and underwear to help people sleeping on the streets of Exeter.

Andrew, who sells the magazine near Cathedral Green in the Devon city, recently found accommodation.

But he did spend around six months sleeping rough, and wanted to donate his earnings to the St Petrock’s centre, a charity for homeless people, to provide vital clothing for those without a roof over the heads.

“Once you’ve been homeless yourself you know that it’s important to have support and a lifeline you can lean on,” said the 50-year-old. “I thought it was about time I gave a little back to people who also may be in need.”

The big-hearted vendor has undertaken fundraising and charitable drives in the city before.

In 2015 Andrew used trolleys borrowed from the Co-op to collect lots of tents, sleeping bags and warm clothes, before donating the gear to a church in Towcester where homeless people could collect the items.

The same year he organised a jumble sale, barn dance and concert, raising over £800 for local charities.

Gill Luckings of the St Petrock’s centre in Exeter said: “Andrew is a great ambassador for the way the homeless people can turn their life around.

“The local community send in lots of different donations which we are extremely grateful for but we also need cash.

“It’s the local community who offer the opportunity for us to be able to meet our fundraising needs.”

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The Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA) will develop and implement practical steps and solutions to prevent families losing their homes, and help people remain in employment.

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