Sam Fender covers Lindisfarne's Winter Song for homeless charity

North Shields musician, Sam Fender, has covered 'Winter Song' by Lindisfarne to raise money for charity.

The award winner has released the Folk track in collaboration with People of the Streets, which is a social enterprise helping homeless people.

Winter Song appeared on Lindisfarne's 1970 album Nicely Out Of Tune and it was written by founding member, Alan Hull.

Sam said he chose to cover the 'Geordie legends' of Lindisfarne because he wanted a Christmas song "close to my home and my heart".

Sam described the late songwriter Alan Hull as "truly was one of the most fantastic and underrated writers of his time".

For me the words are more relevant this year than ever, Christmas won’t be the same for a lot of people this year, that’s why I picked this song. Alan truly was one of the most fantastic and underrated writers of his time, I hope I’ve done it justice, I’m really proud of it.

Sam Fender

Meanwhile, People of the Streets, the social enterprise helping homeless people, is calling on local councils to provide free helplines for homeless people to access support.

Four North East councils don't currently offer free phone lines. They are:

  • Durham County Council

  • Northumberland County Council

  • South Tyneside Council

  • Gateshead Council

Gateshead Council replied to Sam's tweet to say they're working on it, while the other 3 provided the following statements:

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of development and housing, said: “We continue to provide support to people with a housing need in what are incredibly difficult times for them.

“We have looked into the possibility of making our housing advice line an 0800 number and despite the many positive comments and feedback we receive about our homeless services, we always listen to feedback and will keep this under review.

“Our advice line will continue to be available free of charge for anyone with a mobile package and for all calls we receive we will continue offer to phone the person back to save them expense.

“We will also continue to issue mobile phones with credit to rough sleepers who access our services to allow them to get in touch with us whenever they need support.

“Anyone with a housing need can also continue to contact us via email or our website.

“We continue to receive nothing but positivity in terms of feedback about how we assist the users of our housing solutions service. We strive to ensure no-one is excluded and that the service is acceptable to everyone.”

Phil Soderquest, head of housing and public protection at Northumberland County Council said: " People who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness, have multiple points of access to the council including through our contact centres and our customer service centre which operates a standard landline charge.

If we get such a call, a member of our Homelessness and Housing Options Teams will call the person back, so they are not incurring a telephone charge. An officer from the team will then work with the person seeking assistance to establish the issues, identify what advice and support is required, which may include provision of emergency accommodation and put them in touch with the relevant support services.

We are continually seeking to develop and improve the services we offer and we are currently exploring ways for all vulnerable people, including those who are homeless, to contact the council."

A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “The council is currently investigating the provision of a freephone number for homelessness queries or presentations and we can offer a ring back service once contact with our dedicated helpline has been made.

The service can be contacted free of charge from a public telephone in both South Shields Town Hall and Jarrow Town Hall, however, we appreciate that with reduced opening times of public buildings it has become increasingly difficult for people to use these facilities.

“Our outreach services respond to any reports of rough sleeping and engage directly with vulnerable people, including facilitating contact to help support them into safe accommodation.”


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