Mary (not her real name) ended up on the street in her 50s because of domestic abuse – she found her way to Sleepsafe and off the street for the winter – one year later people have helped her get a flat, volunteer, learn new skills and regain her self-confidence – Good News… but what would have happened if she hadn’t had someone to help her find local support.
18 months ago, charities and agencies working to help rough sleepers get off (and stay off!) the streets in Bournemouth had 3 challenges put to them;
– first – do we actually know what each other are doing to help
– second – people kept asking “what can we do?” – they wanted to help but had no idea how
– third, students from the University were saying “is there any help actually out there – there’s nowhere to find out who does what and when”.
Roll on to summer 2018, and these organisations including YMCA, Big Issue, Shelter, BCHA, Citizens Advice, Bournemouth Foodbank, Faithworks in tandem with the Councils, the University and Health teams have brought http://www.streetsupport.net to the town.
This one stop website brings into one place all the help in the town, and all the opportunities for people of goodwill to get involved.
And the impact – well, rough sleepers can get help quicker – advisors can flick onto the system and see who else is well placed to give help there and then; people who want to help can see the needs and volunteering opportunities that fit them. And we think this will really help local businesses to know how to respond to the issue of homelessness on their door-step.
On Friday 5th October, we start the next stage of the local Street Support story. Conor Burns, Martin Underhill and people from across all sectors of life are meeting to commit themselves to the project that is now conurbation wide, and to launch “Change for Good” – a simple alternative and independently managed way for people to give money to homelessness work in the town
There couldn’t be a more pertinent example of how change will only come when everyone can see how they can play their part. Come
along to the BCHA Factory in
Alderhills on the 5th at 2pm to be in on the next stage of town-wide transformation!” (https://bit.ly/2IkfYAH)
Chief Executive, Faithworks Wessex