A RECORD number of people used the Wycombe Winter Night Shelter this year, a homeless charity has announced.

The Wycombe Homeless Connection said its shelter provided 827 bed nights and more than 1,650 hot meals for 36 people at seven venues which were staffed by 300 volunteers.

On average, visitors stayed for 23 nights – which has gone up due to a lack of affordable housing and provisions for the homeless, WHC said.

The charity added 11 people stayed overnight on Monday, the final night of this winter's shelter, up from the six who sought refuge this time last year.

James Boultbee, WHC Operations Manager said: “The two main reasons are an ongoing acute shortage of affordable accommodation in the area and last year’s abolition of crisis loans to pay for rent in advance.

“Combined, these two factors mean that homeless people can find themselves trapped.”

The shelter may have closed but WHC's advice and support centre, The Ground Floor in Castle Street, remains open every weekday morning.

To help fund the full-time service, the charity is appealing for donations and has announced its summer fundraising plans.

The connection will benefit from the Chiltern Shakespeare Company’s production of As You Like It at Hall Barn in Beaconsfield from June 11, as well as the Penn Seven and Super Fun Runs on June 15.

The charity will also host its inaugural ball at Wycombe Abbey School on June 18, which promises a Great Gatsby theme.

Visit www.wyhoc.org.uk to find out more information about the events mentioned above or to make a donation or volunteer for the charity.