‘Street Friends’ was founded in partnership with the Dinnington Resource Centre near Sheffield by a group of volunteers passionate about helping vulnerable people.
Founder Rachel Havenhand said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant other charities in the area were struggling to meet the increased demand for support, as large numbers of self-employed people or those on zero-hours contracts lost their jobs and were unable to pay rent.
To support their efforts, Street Friends recently held a launch event at the Dinnington Resource Centre, supported by a donation from financial services provider Foresters Financial (Foresters) and organised by local Foresters member Jo Hudson.
A team of Foresters volunteers led by Jo put together 50 packs, containing vital items such as a hoodie, gloves, scarf, hat, wind up torch, sweet snacks and a sleeping bag. These were then distributed to those in desperate need within the community.
Rachel Havenhand, Founder of Street Friends, said: “We noticed early in the pandemic that there were increased numbers of homeless and struggling people that needed our support in the community. To understand exactly what help they needed, we started getting to know these people, and Street Friends was born.
“The last 12 months have been an extremely lonely time for a lot people, and we feel that everyone should be offered a hot meal and warm clothing, as well as a chat and an offer of help if needed, without any judgement.”
Jo Hudson, Foresters member leader, added: “The impact of Covid-19 on the homeless community won’t be fully realised for some time but it was clear in Dinnington that extra support for the homeless and vulnerable was desperately needed.
“I saw the work that Street Friends were doing through their social posts and thought it would be the perfect charity for Foresters members to support. I hope to work with Street Friends again on future projects, as the group continues its valuable work.”
In England, it has been reported that the number of people sleeping rough has increased by 141 per cent between 2010 and 2019.