A support group for the homeless is appealing for help after lockdown left it with almost nothing to give to those in need.

Alternative Angels went back out to the streets in early July to hand out food to the homeless, but because the service had been closed since the end of March it has now nearly run out of donations.

Jane Richards who runs the group said: “I have got enough for probably the next two weeks and then I’m in trouble.

“I can’t let that happen so I’m just calling out for help.”

Staffed by 20 volunteers the group hands out hot meals from the Wyvern Theatre car park on Monday and Tuesday evenings. It also provides snack packs that can be taken away and eaten later.

Jane added: “Because we were closed for twelve weeks it meant we had no donations for all that time and everything I had leftover before lockdown I either gave out to people or it was going out of date so I gave it to the Great Western Hotel for the rough sleepers being housed there. But it means I’ve got to start all over again now.”

The group has been feeding roughly 50 people each evening since starting up again.

“I know it’s a horrible time to ask because people are struggling and everyone knows somebody in need,” said Jane. “But I feel like I’ve got 50 people who are struggling, and I just really need some help.”

The group is asking for contributions to its Just Giving page or donations for the snack packs.

“We need things people can take away with them,” said Jane. “Each week we go through roughly 100 bottles of water, 100 bags of crisps and 100 bars of chocolate.”

The food handouts follow strict social distancing measures, with volunteers wearing PPE and everyone being given hand sanitiser before their meal.

Jane said: “It’s been challenging to adapt and cope with the new restrictions but the guys and girls have been really good at following the rules.

“There are a few new faces which I was expecting, whether it be because of job loses or food poverty.

“We see a mixture of rough sleepers, homeless people who are sofa surfing and in hotels, and then people who are vulnerably housed and suffering food poverty. People may have been housed from The Great Western Hotel but they’ve still got to eat and so they are still coming to us.

“They’ve been moved but not the problem, as far as food poverty goes.”

The group was also nominated for the Pride of Swindon Awards 2020.

“We were all so chuffed to have our efforts recognised," Jane added. “We’ve got to be able to keep going because the need is there.”

Visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jane-richards-694