`

Vital service for Derbyshire's homeless will close after being unable to secure long-term funding

Homelessness is on the rise in Derbyshire.
Homelessness is on the rise in Derbyshire.

A vital service for the homeless which won a temporary reprieve from closure has now announced it will shut at the end of the month.

At the start of February, the Derbyshire Outreach Team (DOT) announced its immediate future was safe after it managed to secure funding.

But now the service has said it has been unable to obtain the long-term funding required and will cease operations on March 31.

The service - which was run by the P3 charity - has helped more than 125 homeless people across Derbyshire in the past year.

Rebecca Harrington-Leigh, P3's assistant director of operations, said: "Derbyshire's local authorities have been genuine in their attempts to secure the funding to keep DOT open and we remain optimistic.

"P3 will continue to work together with Chesterfield Borough Council, the Derbyshire districts and aligned partner organisations to explore innovative, new ways to work with people who are experiencing homelessness and sleeping on the streets across the county.

"Our hope is that a long-term solution can still be found.

"DOT will continue to accept referrals on our freephone number - 0808 1647 753 - until March 31.

"After this date, we're asking people to contact Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 or to use the Streetlink app."

DOT's team heads out in the early hours of the morning to respond to new referrals and visit known rough sleeping sites in order to make contact with people who are vulnerable, alone and sleeping on the streets of Derbyshire.

Team members work tirelessly to build up trust with those people and help them access support and accommodation.

Latest latest Government statistics showed the number of rough sleepers in Derbyshire rose by 317 per cent between 2010 and last autumn.