Over the last twelve months Routes to Roots has made an excellent start on its ambition to establish a homeless hub in Poole. The charity is already accepted as a centre for many outreach activities to benefit the health and well-being of the homeless but for many years has only been able to offer help indoors on four occasions during the week. At Easter the charity introduced a monthly Sunday drop-in thanks to volunteers from a number of local churches. This has literally been a lifeline to many homeless people who dread what they often call ‘Suicide Sunday’, a day with nothing to do and nowhere warm to go. They now have nearly 30 people attending these drop-ins and plan to make the drop-in fortnightly, as support increases.
In September, following the appointment of a part-time drop-in and volunteer co-ordinator, the charity not only extended the hours of its lunch-time drop-ins, opening at 12 noon for hot drinks before lunch at 1.30pm, but has added an extra drop-in on Wednesday lunch-time. Rough sleepers now have the opportunity to get in out of the cold every single week day and monthly on Sundays. The extended opening hours also enable the guys to make full use of the shower installed at Skinner Street this year, thanks to grants from The Valentine Charitable Trust and The Screwfix Foundation.
This is a great start and the charity is grateful to Skinner Street URC for their support. R2R now aims to move on: to operate seven days a week, getting the guys off the streets for the greater part of each day, and to continue working with St Mungo’s, the Poole Council outreach team, to improve the winter sleepsafe programme.
R2R is also in discussion with Poole Council and St Mungo’s on how the three organisations can work together more effectively to help rough sleepers into housing. This has already resulted in two of the three former rough sleepers in Amos House, R2R’s supported accommodation, moving out to independent accommodation and two more rough sleepers being taken off the streets. As usual Routes to Roots will provide a hot breakfast for verified rough sleepers at the Fisherman’s Café on Poole Quayside over this winter but starting the programme a month early in November, and Christmas lunch on Christmas Day.
All these initiatives and plans mean that funding will always be a concern for Routes to Roots. The charity relies for all its income on support from the local community and by applying for grants. It receives no fixed financial support from the local authorities.
If you have some time and would like to volunteer, or become a member or make a donation, please contact the R2R Office: Skinner Street URC, Poole BH15 1QR Tel: 01202 667880 / 07901 387643 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.routestoroots.org
One easy way for individuals to show support is when you do any shopping online, whether for train tickets, flowers, household goods or presents.You raise money for R2R at absolutely no cost to yourself by visiting your favourite retailers through 'Easy Fund Raising' or ‘Give As You Live’. Log on to the sites, register yourself and the charity, Routes to Roots, that you would like to support and start shopping. Every time you buy from one of the businesses on their lists, R2R will receive a percentage of what you spend.
For ease of access, add the addresses to your bookmark bar: http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/ routestoroots