A HOMELESS charity has seen a massive 80 percent jump in attendance at its drop-in sessions and expects the problem to get worse as winter takes hold.

The Wycombe Homeless Connection has clocked 1,037 visits to its drop-in sessions, held three times a week, between May and September.

This is an 80 percent rise on the same five month period in 2011, with 32 people - a record high - visiting the connection’s Oakley Hall base on Monday.

Charity bosses are expecting unprecedented demand when the doors to its Winter Night Shelter are opened in January, with changes to the benefit system looming coupled with the continuing struggles of the economy.

Dr Sheena Dykes, Chair of Trustees, says: “So many people have been made redundant this year, in the face of widespread job losses.

“Together with planned cuts in welfare payments, we predict a dire winter ahead for the homeless in Wycombe.

“There’s been an icy arctic wind this week, with driving rain and darker evenings. Imagine how hard it would be to be sleeping rough tonight – it beggars belief.

“It is our target to wipe out homelessness in this town which will only be possible with support from the wider community”.

The charity is appealing for volunteers to help out at during its various sessions and cash donations via 01494 447699 or www.wyhoc.org.uk

Residents can also donate £1 to the organisation at the table of the following restaurants which have all signed up to the national StreetSmart campaign:

Gilbey’s in Old Amersham, The Squirrel and The Hit or Miss in Penn Street, The Curry Centre in High Wycombe, Tiger Garden in Marlow, and The Dog and Badger at Medmenham.