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Criminology crew organise Christmas help for the homeless

Maggie McDowell an academic at Durham University with some of the clothes she has collected for the homeless.

Maggie McDowell an academic at Durham University with some of the clothes she has collected for the homeless.

A UNIVERSITY lecturer and her students are helping the homeless with a donation of warm clothing and blankets.

Maggie McDowell, who teaches criminology at Durham University’s School of Applied Social Sciences, organised a collection as part of her students’ course.

They will take the items to the Changing Lives charity (formerly Cyrenians) in Newcastle, and while there help cook lunch for residents who have found themselves without a home this Christmas.

Her involvement with homeless services started in 2009 when she interviewed homeless women and service providers as part of her PhD. It is the third year she has organised this collection.

She said: “I became aware that homeless service providers collect and distribute clothing and footwear, and in doing so, rely heavily on donations from the public.

“While these donations are highly valued, they are also quickly distributed.”

As well as the appeal for clothing, the students also raised money to buy toiletries which where packaged up into gift bags.

She added: “The toiletries and clothing are things the homeless people genuinely need.

“We took some clothes in the summer, they were handed out and put to use almost immediately.

“It is very gratifying to see something you’ve donated being worn a few minutes later. I think the service users will really appreciate that people have gone to some effort to consider them.

“One extra layer of clothing is an extra layer of warmth for people.”

 

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