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Charity warms city's homeless

By Jamie Hall

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Volunteers have been doing their bit to help those less fortunate by distributing jackets around Inverness for the homeless.

Organised by women's mental health organisation Serenity, the group tied jackets to lampposts, handed them to people living on the streets and donated them to Women's Aid.

Vivienne Mackie, one of the organisation's co-founders, said the public reaction to the scheme has been overwhelmingly positive.

"It started when put out an appeal on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and all the mums from my daughter's dance school donated a lot of jackets," she said.

"More and more people got involved after that.

"There was a really positive response from the public. A lot of people were stopping to ask how they could donate as well.

"We had quite a few people getting in touch to before we did it, and while we were out hanging the jackets up a couple of people asked for the Serenity phone number so they could contribute.

"Many people are homeless for a whole number of reasons. Serenity was set up to help people with mental health issues, and we know that can be one of the contributing factors towards people becoming homeless.

"Doing something like this helps someone in a tough situation know that there are people out there thinking about them."

Her fellow co-founder Carlie Borthwick added that they are hoping to distribute jackets more regularly.

"At Serenity although we primarily deal with people struggling with their mental health, we can help anybody who needs us," she said.

"We have still got a lot of jackets left so over the next couple of weeks we are hoping to do it again.

"We've donated some to Women's Aid too. We'd like to make it a more regular thing that we do."

The project has been praised by local charity Homeless Action Inverness, which supports people affected by the issue.

The charity's service manager Karen Patience said: "We are very grateful to the volunteers at Serenity for organising this.

"It's great to see people doing their bit to help those affected by homelessness."

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