EAST Lancashire's six councils have received a further £184,000 government grant to try and get rough sleepers off the streets.

It follows a £700,000 award in December to tackle homelessness and begging in Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn Burnley, Ribble Valley, Pendle and Rossendale.

The cash will enable the continuation of the ‘rough sleeper case navigator service’ ­— an outreach street team working with people living on the streets across the six boroughs ­— from April 1 to March next year.

Cllr Mustafa Desai, Blackburn with Darwen’s adult services boss who led the joint bid, revealed that in the last year the number of regular rough sleepers in the borough had been reduced by seven to 15.

He said: “We know that one person sleeping rough is one too many but unfortunately we can’t force people to not sleep on the streets. We know that the reasons are complex and different for each person, some people have been sleeping rough for years. Some people may be resistant to accepting any help but the option is available for them to have a roof over their head if they wish.”

“People don’t often know about or see the hard work of our dedicated case navigator team who are working out on the streets trying to make a real difference to lives. They take a lot on mentally and emotionally and deserve huge credit for the work they do.

Cllr Charlie Briggs, leader of Burnley Council, said: “It’s marvellous news and will mean extra help and support for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. The funding will pay for a second officer to work in our borough through Calico’s Gateway project on the former Mitre pub site.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I am delighted at this extra funding to tackle rough sleeping across East Lancashire. There is still a lot more we can do.”