The number of rough sleepers on the streets of Wycombe is going up again - prompting major concern from a homelessness charity and town centre managers.

During the early days of the pandemic, rough sleeping dropped almost to zero as the government helped fund hotels and B&Bs to keep people who would otherwise be on the streets safe from Covid-19.

But the ‘Everyone In’ scheme recently ended - and more and more people are back out on the streets, with that number expected to rise even further.

Speaking at the last High Wycombe town committee, HWBIDCo chief executive Melanie Williams said she had noticed more rough sleepers on the streets of the town.

She said: “Anecdotally I can say yes, we are worried about the increase of people coming out of accommodation and sleeping rough. Anti-social behaviour is a huge deterrent in the town centre for shoppers and visitors and its very important to have a long-term strategy in place to tackle that. I know there are many partners involved in that.”

Wycombe Homeless Connection has also raised fears about the number of people returning to the streets and has urged residents to help them raise cash to open their emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in the south of the county this winter.

The charity’s biggest fundraiser, the Big Sleepout - taking place ‘at home’ for the second year in a row on November 19 - goes towards their winter appeal, which they have launched so they are able to run an emergency winter night shelter in the town centre.

It will open on December 1 and run until the end of March to provide a safe, warm place to stay during the coldest and most dangerous months of the year for those who are sadly on the streets.

Alongside the emergency accommodation they will connect their guests to healthcare, wellbeing activities and in-depth homelessness support services.

Heather Stanley, the charity’s fundraising and marketing manager, said: “We need to be ready to offer a much help as is needed to make sure no one has to sleep on the street this winter.

“We are receiving more and more concerned calls from the public regarding people sleeping rough across south Bucks: reports of two people in Amersham last week, one in Chesham, one in Farnham Royal, and others.

“Our support workers are increasing their number of outreach walks and we have re-opened our weekly ‘Plug-In’ sessions, offering a hot meal, shower, access to laundry facilities and dry clothing, showers and support for those rough sleeping.

“Our community has always shown huge generosity and support to us and the people we serve and we are asking for their help once again.”

As well as the sleepout - which will see participants swap their beds for sleeping bags in the garden, at a church or even in the bathtub - they will be holding a live, online big quiz on the same night, which last year raised more than £5,000.

If you would like to take part in the big sleepout, the big quiz or give to the charity’s winter appeal, visit If you’re worried about someone sleeping rough, get in touch on their homelessness prevention hotline - 01494 447699.

Councillor Mark Winn, Deputy Cabinet Member for Homelessness at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “Although the national 'Everybody In' arrangements came to an end earlier this year, this does not mean that the council has in any way, stopped working to support and assist rough sleepers.

"The council continues to work with its partners to deliver and support a wide range of ongoing services to help tackle and alleviate rough sleeping. This includes an outreach service, emergency beds and a range of specialist support services which are accommodating most clients who were previously accommodated when  'Everybody In' ended.

"We continually monitor the number of people sleeping rough in Buckinghamshire and the council and its partners follow up on all reports of rough sleeping in the county.

"We work with individual clients to help them come off the streets and we are determined to achieve the councils aim of virtually eliminating rough sleeping in Buckinghamshire.   

"If anyone is concerned about someone sleeping rough, they can report it on-line via the national Streetlink website at and the details will be sent to the Bucks Rough Sleeper Outreach Team.

"The Bucks Rough Sleeper Outreach Team can also be contacted on 01494 459871 or by e-mail at”