Supporting Rough Sleepers in Sedgemoor
We would like to introduce Amy Bridges & Richard Hole who joined our team here at ARC in April and are already making a positive impact on the streets of Bridgwater & Burnham-on-sea.
Here they tell their story….
“We start work every morning at 7.00am at our office in Bridgwater and after checking emails to see if there have been any new reports of people sleeping rough via Street Link or the public, we take to the streets. We begin our day by visiting areas that are already known to us, checking in and taking bottles of water and suncream to people we know and keeping our eyes out for anyone that we think may be a new rough sleeper.
Once we have covered Bridgwater we head to Burnham-on-sea and our checks include the high street, fields, graveyards, car parks and woodlands. We certainly cover a lot of miles some days and we always go out 5 days a week despite the weather!
This normally takes us until 9.00am and after we have delt with all the relevant paperwork we head over to Westfield United Reformed Church where we offer a drop-in service from 9.30am until 11.30am. Via the wonderful Westfield Street Café initiative rough sleepers can access food, shower and laundry facilities and we are on hand to offer support and advice, to address their housing issues and assess everyone for suitable accommodation and any other services they may need.
Every day is different, and we never know how many people may drop- in, but we try our best to engage with everyone and encourage them to drop- in and see us. We are here to listen, help people access accommodation, get them off the streets and break the cycle of street homeless. Some days can be really tough, but the impact we are making and the relationships we are building outweighs those difficult days… our job is so rewarding! Matthew is a recent success story of ours as we found him sleeping in a tent in a field with no other personal items not even a sleeping bag and he is now safe and secure in local accommodation.”
We would like to congratulate Amy and Rich on how quickly they have adapted to their new role and the positive impact they have made in such a short space of time. If you would like to make a donation to directly help the services offered by the Outreach Team, please contact us at [email protected]. All donations will go towards new sleeping bags, roll mats and suncream which are all desperately needed by the team.
If you are concerned about a rough sleeper, please contact Streetlink at https://www.streetlink.org.uk/