ST PAUL’S Hostel, which supports the city’s homeless, has been selected as this year’s chosen charity at a ballroom dance competition.

Organised by Worcestershire Ambassadors, Strictly Worcestershire is an event where novice dancers compete in aid of raising funds for charity.

Jonathon Sutton, who has been chief executive at the charity in Tallow Hill, Worcester, for five and a half years, said: “It’s always a pleasure to get chosen for any charity event. It allows us to raise our profile and reach out to a larger audience to tackle homelessness in the city.”

Former army Colonel, Mr Sutton, aged 52, claims the number of rough sleepers in Worcester has doubled in a year.

He added: “Homelessness is on the rise, and it has been since 2011 nationally.

"It is part of the wider policy framework and people feel less secure in their homes.”

St Paul’s Hostel has appealed for the public’s help to decrease the number of beggars on the streets.

Mr Sutton said: “We urge people to donate money to local charities rather than giving money to beggars.

"There is a strong link between begging and drug addiction.

"These people need help and we should be nudging and persuading them to use the services on offer.

“The bad guys are not the people begging - the baddies are the drug dealers and what they are doing to these wonderful people.

"Drug dealers are part of organised crime and are involved in a huge network of wealth.

"People begging on the streets should not be targeted.”

Married couple Elaine and Stuart Watt, who are dancing at Strictly Worcestershire for St Paul’s Hostel, said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking that in 2019, with our access to so much abundance, there are still people living on the street.

"It’s something that we feel very passionately needs to end rapidly, and we want to do whatever we can to work towards the goal of ending homelessness in Worcester.

“There’s a few reasons we decided to go for it when we had the opportunity to join the Strictly 2019 team.

"It’s so great to be able to do something together as a couple as day to day can be so busy it’s hard to carve time out to do something really special together.”

Julia Williams, director of Worcestershire Ambassadors and organiser of Strictly Worcestershire said: “Homelessness puts an enormous strain on mental health with long hours of loneliness, isolation and sleep deprivation.

"No one should wake up without a roof over their head in a safe environment.”

The black-tie event will take place at the Chateau Impney, in Droitwich on May 23.

For donations towards Elaine and Stuart Watt JustGiving page, visit


Ex-army man taking part in Strictly Worcestershire speaks out on mental healthCharity ballroom event Strictly Worcestershire continues to grow