A PLAN to cut the number of people sleeping rough in parks in Swindon has been approved.

Swindon’s Health and Wellbeing Board – made up of representatives from the borough council, the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England – gave it the green light.

Five priorities have been identified.

They are:

n To ensure that nobody arrives on the streets in the first place

n That a rapid response is available if people do end up on the streets

n To provide an outreach service for those with complex needs

n To develop a range of accommodation and support services tailored to individual needs

n To ensure that, once housed, nobody should return to the streets

Councillor Cathy Martyn, the council’s cabinet member for housing and public safety, said: “Ensuring that proper support is in place for rough sleepers, and everyone who is experiencing housing difficulties, is a top priority for this council and the Health and Wellbeing Board’s approval of the Rough Sleeping Reduction strategy is a huge step forward.

“Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people in our community and we are committed to doing all we can to help get people off the streets and into safe, secure and long-term accommodation.

“I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in putting this strategy together and we will continue to work with our partners to reduce the numbers of rough sleepers in Swindon.”

Each individual rough sleeper will be given a personal housing plan with the aim of getting them into safe and secure accommodation.

The borough council has outreach workers who will speak to people sleeping rough and it funds the temporary winter housing provision, for up to 12 people to say during the coldest months in Queens Drive.

On the same site is The Haven, run by volunteers from Swindon Night Shelter, where people can have breakfast, hot drinks and meet staff from the council and other agencies, such as the Department of Work & Pensions.

It will now go to the council’s cabinet for the final ratification before being put into action.