With the countdown to Christmas on, one volunteer with new city charity Help Our Homeless MK shows the real meaning of giving...
"The homeless situation has been in and out of the news a lot this year and I have been lucky enough to spend some time with Help our Homeless MK (HOH MK).
"They are a local grass roots, non-religious, non- political organisation providing help and support to the homeless community of Milton Keynes.
"Sadly the number of homeless people in Milton Keynes has increased 500% since 2012 when it was started by Laura.
"During one evening I observed a donation run, this comprised of 2 committee members and 4 volunteers (working out of the committee members cars), alongside the Soup Run providing essential items from socks to tents, toiletries to gloves.
"This is standard practice three times a week, 52 weeks of the year. But it’s obvious they are providing more than essential items, they are providing hugs, laughter and compassion.
"I was witnessing friendships between them, which have been built over the past three years. This is down to dedication and consistency of going out in all weather.
"I also found that homelessness has different presenting issues throughout the year; yes it’s hard in winter where gloves and warm clothing are on high demand, but we can have cold wet spells at any time and hot sunny weather presents its own issues including sunburn and dehydration.
"The streets are seen to be lonely at Christmas, but everyone has days such as a birthday or anniversary that are equally, if not more tough.
"Demand for certain items changes throughout the year and making sure that enough is available is hard work and the committee work tirelessly to keep up using public media, running a thrift shop, holding fundraising events, they even spend days in fields collecting tents left behind after festivals.
"These are just a few bits that they do, on top of the three donation runs or emergency calls out.
"If it was not for the support received from the people of Milton Keynes, they would not be able to do what they do.
"Every donation no matter of the size really is needed. The difference that made to those less fortunate than ourselves and the success stories we have seen in the past brings great joy.
"The vast variety of people involved in the organisation shows that is does not matter what walk of life you are from, you can make a difference.
"It’s clear to see for the committee and volunteers of Help our Homeless MK that homelessness is not just a problem at Christmas."