“Supporters of the Rangers Charity Foundation should be very proud of their accomplishments”
Tue 10th October 2017
Donna Finlayson is Trust and Grants Officer at Simon Community Scotland. Simon Community Scotland works tirelessly to combat the causes and effects of homelessness and the Foundation is proud to support this charity again for season 2017/18 having supported its Nightstop project in season 2016/17. Donna is writing on World Homelessness Day (October 10).
Simon Community Scotland helps people who are homeless by providing a safe place for people to live as well as outreach support to people who are rough sleeping. This year, we are delighted to be receiving the backing of the Rangers Charity Foundation to support our new programme of work Street Cycles, whereby volunteers on bicycles will reach out to people sleeping rough in hard to reach places across Glasgow.
In Glasgow, around 50 people will sleep rough tonight, with only a sleeping bag for comfort. Many supporters of the Rangers Charity Foundation will have experienced some of what it feels like to be homeless when sleeping out at Ibrox Stadium during the Big Ibrox Sleep Outs. You will have felt the cold air penetrate the polyester fabric of your sleeping bag, heard the wind funnel through the stadium and the rattling of the stand roof tops. Last year I also took part in the Big Ibrox Sleep Out and what I remember the most about sleeping outside is the silence, and being awoken in the night not knowing the time. This is when I felt most alone. And this is what it must feel like to be homeless, lost alone and only the harsh bite of the air for comfort.
Over the last few months, the Simon Community has received more calls to our freephone line from the public over the rising visible homelessness presence in the city centre. This is of great concern to us as we wish no one had to sleep rough.
Our street team are our front line approach: due to the responsive nature of this service, we can offer dynamic and relevant support where it is needed. The ever adapting situation of rough sleeping in Glasgow is such that we are seeing an increase in reports of people “skippering” in locations outside the city such as parks to the south and west of the City. They are often the most deeply excluded from homeless services and in many cases can be women who are seeking safer places to sleep. Our ability to cover these areas was previously inhibited by geography and staff resources, however, due to the generous support of the Rangers Charity Foundation we can now meet more people’s needs.
The Rangers Charity Foundation will be supporting a new programme we have designed to help meet the changing demands of street homelessness. The Street Cycles project will be the UK’s first pedal-powered homeless outreach service. There will be a team of highly trained volunteers, patrolling peripheral areas of the city, starting off with a team of 14 and eventually building to a 40 strong, 7 day a week operation. This will strengthen our on-street presence, and by using bicycles we can cover greater distances, faster and while carrying useful supplies, such as sleeping bags, food and clothing.
On world Homelessness Day supporters of the Rangers Charity Foundation should be very proud of their accomplishments, without such support, we could not reach out to those most in need. Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity.
To find out more about Simon Community Scotland, visit its website at www.simonscotland.org.