The council has updated its extreme weather plans to ensure that rough sleepers can get access to accommodation quicker as temperatures drop around the country.

Advice given to the council suggests its ‘severe weather emergency protocol’ (SWEP) should be activated after three consecutive nights of freezing temperatures.

However, a report outlined that the council is taking a “proactive approach” by activating its procedures after two consecutive nights of sub-zero records instead.

It read: “The SWEP protocol sets out the arrangements and necessary steps that Bracknell Forest Council will put in place to ensure that all known rough sleepers have the opportunity to access shelter if it is believed that they are at risk due to sleeping rough during severe cold weather

“The aim of the policy is to ensure that no one dies or is seriously harmed and that every effort is made to engage with individuals so that they can access appropriate services.”

A count in November found that there were 19 rough sleepers identified in Bracknell and the council has secured a grant of £35,000 from the government which will help to support rough sleepers.

The change in the council’s policy comes after the report outlined how the authority has seen that “the support need of clients have dramatically changed” leading to more vulnerable rough sleepers.

It will be activated after predictions of two more freezing nights in a row after Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) receives daily weather updates from the Meteo Office.

Rough sleepers can access night shelters in the borough after being referred to BFC’s welfare and housing team or by referring themselves.

If the rough sleeper is “not suitable” for the night shelter or the accommodation is full, the council’s support team will find B&B spaces for them to use instead.

The report states that 70 per cent of the cost of finding shelter for the rough sleepers comes from the government grant, whereas the remaining 30 per cent comes from the council’s sustainability plan.

If you know someone who may need shelter over the coming days, you can find support on 01344 352 010 or via