Vinnie Pack 'starter kit' helps homeless in London

The contents of a Vinnie Pack, which is intended to help homeless people
Image caption The kit includes toiletries and items to keep people warm, such as clothing and a foil blanket

A charity has launched a "starter kit" costing £3 which it hopes will help homeless people in London to stay warm and maintain their hygiene.

The Vinnie Pack, which was created by the St Vincent de Paul Society, contains toiletries, a hat, gloves, socks and a thermal blanket.

The organisation is to distribute 1,000 of the kits around the city.

It has been backed by Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, who said it was an "imaginative initiative".

The packs can be purchased through the society's website, or money can be donated so the organisation can distribute them directly to those in need before Christmas.

Homeless total 'rising'

When some of the kits were handed out in front of Westminster Cathedral on Sunday, one homeless man - Carl Chadwick, 26, from Leeds, West Yorkshire - said he thought it would help rough-sleepers a great deal.

"It's always nice to be able to brush your teeth, because even though you live on the streets, you like to have a wash, and try and have a shave.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCarl Chadwick from Leeds, who has been homeless since 2009, says the packs are important

"And then the foil blanket as well - because it can get a bit nippy on the nights."

The number of people without homes was increasing and meant additional resources were needed to help the vulnerable to be "a little more comfortable", said Siobhan Garibaldi, the society's vice-president.

"When Vinnie Packs were distributed on one of our soup runs last week, homeless people took what they needed and passed surplus items to fellow rough-sleepers," she added.

"That was an amazing example of how those with almost nothing realised the importance of sharing material goods with others in need."

In June another charity, Broadway, said 3,975 people were living on London's streets, an 8% rise on the previous year.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites