Supporters in sleeping bags launch campaign to fund city’s night shelters

28 November 2016

Today (Monday 28 November) sees the launch of a pioneering crowdfunding campaign to fund Bristol’s night shelters for people sleeping rough in the city.

The 97 supporters - one for every person sleeping rough in Bristol according to latest figures – will be gathering on The Watershed Walkway to encourage the city to back Safer off the Streets (SOS) Bristol, a new fundraising campaign from local homelessness charities St Mungo’s, The Julian Trust, Caring in Bristol and Crisis Centre Ministries.

As the temperature gets colder, the charities are asking people to help raise £100k to keep Bristol’s night shelters running.

There are four night shelters in the city offering 70 emergency bed spaces and last week every bed was full. Each shelter provides somewhere safe and supportive to stay whilst volunteers and staff work to help people find accommodation, and help with health and employment issues.

The night shelters are run by the charities in partnership with Bristol City Council and SOS Bristol is the latest initiative from the Rough Sleeping Partnership, set up by the Council to tackle rising homelessness in the city through new service provision and awareness campaigns.

David Ingerslev, Project Manager at St Mungo’s and Rough Sleeping Partnership lead, said:

“Bristol is a compassionate city and people often ask how they can make a difference. This one city approach means we are all working towards the same goal: to support the most vulnerable people off our streets and into accommodation.

“We’re asking people to donate the SOS Bristol campaign, and also to volunteer their time and spread the word about contacting www.streetlink.org.uk if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough so we can help them move into safe shelter off the streets.”

The four shelters are free to clients, with donations going towards running costs, laundry bills and volunteer expenses - visit Fundsurfer  to find out more from 28 Nov.

Aspect Films have made short films to help publicise the campaign available on the Fundsurfer page.

Barbara Owens features in the film and has had experience of sleeping rough in Bristol. She said: “I was scared to be integrated back into society. I was an alcoholic at my lowest point. I had lost my family, my home, my job, my dignity and my friends. I spent my time wandering the streets looking for somewhere to sleep. It was a tough and lonely time.

“I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t somehow mustered up the strength to ask for help. My one wish for anyone struggling with homelessness is to find the courage to put your hand out and ask for help. It’s the hardest thing, believe me.”

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