Estimated 150 children homeless this Christmas in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

AN estimated 158 children in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole could spend this Christmas in hotels and B&Bs, according to a charity.

The number, released by the BCP Homelessness Partnership, has prompted an urgent appeal from the group.

Recent successes in providing new local housing has meant more families have a place to call home, and has helped to decrease the number of children who were formerly housed in B&Bs by over 20%.

But other families are still asking for help.

And a further 389 children are in families who will spend Christmas with the threat of homelessness hanging over their heads.

With large numbers of families reaching out for help, the Homelessness Partnership BCP is urging people to support its Christmas campaign in one of three ways: donating, letting property and volunteering.

There is further hope on the horizon, because BCP is one of six trailblazer regions for Homewards, a new initiative from Prince William and The Royal Foundation.It is already working to form a locally-led coalition from across sectors and businesses to work with the organisations ‘at the front line’ to identify specific actions that will bring closer an end to homelessness in the area.

Chair of the Partnership Forum, Alistair Doxat-Purser, said: “Behind the numbers are individual families seeking to eat, sleep, do homework, relax, seek hope for the next day – all in a B&B room.

“As a partnership we are seeking all ways to change this situation for another family, and another family, and another.

“The reduction because of the new housing is really welcome, but we are committed to both helping more families make the step on into secure homes, and preventing yet more falling into the same situation.

“The thriving new relationship with Homewards, working hand-in-hand with local partners, is a driving force to help families across our three towns.

“However, we would love the support of organisations, businesses, faith groups, community teams and individual members of the public – please support the campaign and open the door to a future home for more families this Christmas.”

Councillor Kieron Wilson, portfolio holder for housing and regulatory services at BCP Council, said: “While we work hard all year-round, approaching Christmas really brings this crisis into focus for those of us lucky enough to be decorating our houses or inviting those we love to dinner.

“The council is continuing to work tirelessly in the run up to the holiday to ensure that anyone at risk of falling into temporary accommodation gets the support they need to stay in their homes.

“Early prevention remains our best way of helping people locally affected, through no fault of their own, by two debilitating national issues: the cost of living crisis and the chronic lack of affordable housing.

“This year and next, our priority remains trying to stop homelessness from occurring in the first place, and we will need our residents to help us with this.

“If you can donate money, your time or have a property or spare room that could be let to someone threatened with homelessness, please get in touch.”

For more information on how you could make a difference, visit

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