South Essex diners have dug deep to raise £5,000 for a local homeless charity.
Hundreds of people helped the StreetSmart campaign which aimed to help people living on the streets in the area.
Southend-based Homeless Action Resource Project (Harp) worked with the national charity StreetSmart to appeal to restaurant customers over the Christmas period.
The campaign asked local restaurants to encourage their patrons to donate £1 when they paid for their bills throughout November and December.
The campaign has now been running for the past six years and has recently managed to get funding from the Office of Civic Society, part of the Cabinet Office.
The four main restaurants involved in the campaign were the Grove in Leigh, Il Pescatore in Southend, Affinity 1777 in Leigh and Ocean Beach in Southend. The owners of the Grove, Delvin and Louise Pitt have raised an incredible £10,000 on their own over the last six years.
Mr Pitt said: “It provides us with the opportunity to do something to help others less fortunate. Our customers are so supportive. Without them we would not have been able to raise that amount.”
Stephen Colyer runs StreetSmart for Harp which provides a day centre, night shelter and a medium-stay hostel in Westcliff and Southend.
He said: “We have been very fortunate to have received tremendous support from the Echo since I brought StreetSmart to Southend and with the fantastic efforts of our local restaurants we have managed to raised a total of more than £30,000 in that time.”
“Every penny raised goes to the homeless in our area. Harp gets all the money raised.”