Chair of SCCRAG, supporting the Help-us-Help campaign
If you're thinking of doing something to help those you see living on town centre streets this Christmas, try this recipe.
Experience tells us that people generally don't get off the street by being given money. In fact, it tends to keep them there. What helps them get back into society are other caring people who understand the homeless, addiction and mental health problems they may have and can offer housing, food, advice, medical and moral support. We are fortunate in Sheffield to have a coordinated partnership of all the agencies and charities that offer help to lift people off the pavement and back onto their feet. It operates under the banner of Help-us-Help and is I believe one of the best developed support networks in the UK.
This December Homeless and Rootless at Christmas, (HARC), will provide a safe and warm shelter open to all vulnerable men and women between Christmas and New Year. They need donations and volunteers. Throughout the year Sheffield Outreach Team, operated by charity Framework, will be monitoring in the early hours who is sleeping rough, their needs and how they can be helped. The Cathedral Archer Project will be providing Monday to Friday a range of daytime activities for up to 80 people that help them rehabilitate. Ben's Centre will be running its day centre and street outreach for vulnerable adults. The Soup Kitchen will be offering sustenance and support seven days a week between 8-9pm in King Street. Big Issue will continue its work to help people get back to normal; the Sunday Centre will be providing free hot meals for 75 vulnerable people each weekend and St Wilfred's Centre will be welcoming homeless and vulnerable adults Monday to Friday 10-4pm. All will be underpinned by the Help-us-Help campaign coordinated by the City Council's Drugs & Alcohol Support team, (DACT). And there are other agencies and charities supporting the coalition.
So if you really want to help those who ask for money this December, the choice is yours. Give money, knowing it keeps that person going, but on the street; give food or a hot drink for sustenance, and/or support one of the many charities helping them get back into society. There is a great website to inform you at www.Help-us-Help.uk and many of the charities involved will appreciate help by volunteering time or materials such as warm clothing and tinned food or with donations of money to support their work. Merry Christmas to all supporters of the Help-us-Help collaboration and long may it continue.