London snow: Londoners leave scarves, coats and hats across capital, and are called on to buy hot drinks for the homeless as city is engulfed in freezing temperatures

Londoners rallied around to help the homeless as the capital was engulfed in freezing temperatures sweeping across the country in a Siberian blast.

In order to offer support to those enduring the cold weather, philanthropists are encouraging people to leave out spare blankets, hats and scarves.

And eateries and pubs are opening their doors to rough sleepers or those in need, with some also donating food to shelters.

It comes just weeks after a homeless man known to frequent a spot outside Parliament died after sleeping on the streets.

Homeless: Campaigners and charities are encouraging people to stop and help anyone sleeping on the streets (Getty Images)

The rough sleeper, who is believed to have frequently slept outside the Tube entrance of Portcullis House, was found unresponsive on the morning of Valentine’s Day.

His death prompted tributes from MPs and sparked calls for politicians to take up the “moral challenge” of homelessness.

On Monday, as the Met Office issued warnings of blisteringly cold weather to come, Sadiq Khan announced that London’s emergency shelters would be open to help people find a warm and safe place to sleep.

And pizza chain Franco Manca offered to supply such shelters with free food in a bid to help those trying to cope with plummeting temperatures. 

“We would like food banks, shelters and homeless charities to know they can contact any of our pizzerias for support during this severe cold snap and they will try and help them,” general manager Vicenzo Flocco told the Standard.

Pizza: Food chain Franco Manca is offering to supply shelters with free pizza

“While we can’t solve the wider issues at hand across the UK, we wanted to play a small part by donating a number of free, hot pizzas to those who are most in need of some substance and warmth this week.”

Charities, foodbanks and shelters are encouraged to contact Franco Manca to arrange a collection throughout the week.

Wimbledon pub The Alexandra, which holds weekly free events for Londoners in need of company, has encouraged its punters to stop and speak with a homeless person rather than walking past.

“All you lovely people out there on Twitter if/when you walk past a homeless person today take the time to stop and ask them if they want a coffee/sausage roll today of all days,” it tweeted.

“Don’t even think about just walking past if they haven’t already got one.”

And the Do Something for Nothing campaign asked people to consider how they could help others try and stay warm during the wintry nights.

Posting a picture of a donated scarf, the campaign’s Instagram account wrote: “It’s getting very cold. Keeping and staying warm is something lots of us take for granted. Donate a blanket or a hot cup of tea to someone in need today, show them you’re there.”

As the frost set in this week, homeless charity Crisis issued advice on how to help people out on the streets.

As well as reporting them to local outreach services, the charity said, one of the most important things people can do is “simply stop and talk to someone”.

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“Rough sleeping can be an isolating, devastating experience – a shared word could make all the difference,” it added.

The Mayor’s homeless services will act in addition to those provided by local boroughs. 

London’s homeless outreach services will be operating under severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP), which is activated when temperatures drop below a certain level for three days running.

Londoners aware of someone sleeping rough is encouraged to contact Streetlink – a website which will alert local outreach services to anyone on the streets.

Most boroughs aim to act as quickly as possible to offer them emergency housing.

For more information on how to help homeless people and rough sleepers in London, you can visit the Mayor’s homelessness advice page.

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