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EDITIONS
Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 11:53 GMT
Council issues blanket ban
Free kitchen
Free kitchens must now refuse to give out blankets
Charities are being banned from handing blankets to homeless people under tough new council rules.

Officials in Nottingham say the discarded bedclothes are left littering the city centre and are a threat to staff.

Sometimes syringes are concealed in dumped blankets and can pose a hazard to street cleaners.

But voluntary groups say the ban will make their work more difficult.

Cleaning problem

Tracey Eales, a church volunteer, said: "It's always really hard. It's freezing cold and we would love to give blankets out but its honouring what the council have said and they don't want us to give them out."

Jane Ellis, City Centre Manager for Nottingham council, said: "If it was the case of the blankets being easily cleared up I don't think we would have an issue with it.

"But there is a lot of debris associated with a blanket and they are often just abandoned."

In a statement Nottingham city council said: "We are doing all we can to discourage people from sleeping rough.

"Outreach workers are on the streets at night, encouraging people not to risk their health by sleeping out under a blanket but go to hostels and night shelters where they can get a warm bed for the night and better support and care."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Bob Walker
"According to official government statistics the number of rough sleepers stands at two"
Jane Ellis, Nottingham city centre manager
"The point was made that there is adequate bed space for the homeless"

Click here to go to Nottingham
See also:

08 Nov 02 | UK
18 Oct 02 | England
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