Published on 1st March 2018

Bench in the snow

Since the recent drop in temperature, Cheltenham Borough Council has activated the county wide severe weather protocol (SWEP) which is a humanitarian response due to the extreme cold weather.

The council provides emergency accommodation when there is a temperature forecast of zero degrees or lower for three or more consecutive dates, or minus 3 degrees or lower for one night only. This applies to everyone who is rough sleeping and without the financial means or capacity to secure accommodation during the period of extreme weather.

Cllr Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for housing, says: “At this time of year it is more important than ever for the council to work with other charities and organisations across our town to keep people warm and safe. With the freezing weather and snow setting in, it remains our priority to get people off the streets. There are some individuals that do not want help but all agencies are working hard to try to keep them safe during these treacherous conditions.”

Caroline Sutcliffe, housing strategy and enabling officer, continues: “Due to this period of cold weather SWEP has been active in Cheltenham since 21 February 2018 and will continue to be in place until Monday 5 March 2018 when it will be reviewed.

“If a member of the public is concerned about a rough sleeper please report this to the outreach team via streetlink by visiting, downloading the Streetlink app, or calling 0300 500 0914.

Cheltenham Borough Council is also currently trialling an extension of this protocol to ensure this same protection is offered when weather warnings are in place which would adversely affect people who are rough sleeping, this may include weather warnings for snow or high winds when the temperature may mean that the protocol would not otherwise be activated.  

Notes: SWEP is carried out on the council’s behalf by the charity P3 who manage the assertive outreach service in Gloucestershire and work with some of the county’s most vulnerable individuals.  P3 will actively search for people who are new to sleeping on the streets or who are longer term rough sleepers with complex needs and will try and support them to enable them to access appropriate accommodation, support, and healthcare to begin their journey into longer term sustained housing.