To launch its annual campaign to support vulnerable and homeless people across the UK, Connect Group will donate more than 5000 items this January and is encouraging colleagues, partners and the general public to get involved and gift items to the campaign.

Connect Group, the wholesale and freight specialist, which includes Smiths News and Tuffnells in its portfolio, has run its Pass It On campaign for the last 3 years. In that time it has donated more than 1000 coats, sleeping bags, blankets and more to vulnerable people from London up to the north of England.

According to the latest report from Shelter, there are around 320,000 homeless people in the UK, with 5,000 people sleeping rough. 135,000 of those affected are children and London, Manchester and Brighton, 3 of the places volunteers from Connect Group will be visiting, have the highest number of children without a home per person.

Alongside members of the Connect Group team and the general public, a number of high profile businesses and members of the media have pledged support to the campaign. The Telegraph has donated £1,000, while News UK, The Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers, The National Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) are collecting clothing and Adidas and Market Force are both collecting and donating. Great Run Group, Cliff Bar and IPRO are providing food and drinks.

Speaking about the importance of the campaign, Interim CEO of Connect Group, Jon Bunting said: “Homelessness is a real issue in the UK that needs a long-term solution. Vulnerable people continue to need the support of campaigns like Pass It On and it’s even more concerning to see how many children and young people there are affected.

“Every garment and item donated to the campaign are so important in the short term to help support people who are homeless or sleeping rough. No matter what time of the year it’s vital people in communities across the UK come together to help support those who are vulnerable.  In the winter months, with the low temperatures, it is even more critical that we ensure as many sleeping bags, coats and blankets, as well as other items are donated.

“As always we will have so many fantastic volunteers up and down the country who will be visiting town and city centres providing the donated items to people who need them most. We can’t urge people enough to get involved and donate.”

Volunteers from Connect Group will be visiting Oxford, Birmingham, Coventry, London, Manchester, Worcester, Nottingham, Leicester and Brighton from 20 to 31 January. If you would like to donate to the campaign please click here.