An initiative to give rough sleepers a warm bed for the night during winter begins next week.

North Devon and Torridge district councils have joined forces to provide the Safe Sleep service to rough sleepers across the two districts.

It will be based at the Salvation Army centre in Barnstaple and will be open from January 2 to March 31 2020.

Last year the project helped 111 people over the winter, with at least 36 going on to live in secure accommodation.

The councils are now calling for volunteers to help out when the Salvation Army centre opens its doors.

They are also requesting donations of tinned food such as soup, tomatoes, lentils, beans and pulses; pasta and rice; tea, coffee and biscuits, and board games for adults.

North Devon Council's lead member for housing, Councillor Nicola Topham, said: "We are very pleased to be opening our doors to those in need during the cold winter months by offering shelter at night and refreshments.

"We would be very grateful for volunteers who are in a position to help out at the centre between January and March, making tea and coffee, providing a warm welcome, and supporting staff.

"Last year, residents were generous enough to donate items to support those in need and we'd be extremely grateful to receive this help again. If you have any provisions you don't need, please take them to Lynton House in Barnstaple."

Torridge District Council's lead member for homelessness and housing need, Councillor Michael Clarke, added: "I would echo the comments made by Nicola and would ask everybody to do whatever they can to help support this important work.

"Sometimes our assistance here can lead to longer term solutions for people using this service and its encouraging that over a third of those we've helped previously have now secured long term and more permanent accommodation."

Prospective volunteers are asked to email North Devon Council's Natasha Rowland on