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This year Homelessness Sunday is 25 October 2020

There are increasing numbers of homeless people in Cambridge, facing serious physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  With the CoVID crisis, more than ever these people need support.  Homelessness Sunday is an opportunity for us to help meet some of these needs.

It can be daunting to know how to help people on the streets. Should we give money? Should we stop and talk? Where can they go to find help?
Begging is a sensitive and complex issue. According to Cambridge Street Aid, “there are lots of reasons why people beg on the street. Each person has their own story to tell, and many of us instinctively want to give money to someone we think needs our help. But giving money directly to people on the streets can actually keep them on the streets for longer.”

So what can we do to help people on the streets?

  • If you have time, stop and talk with them.
  • Ask them their first name and share yours.
  • If someone asks you for money, look them in the eye when you respond and speak as confidently as you can. The advice is that it's better to buy someone food rather than give out money.
  • If you have the time and money, offer to buy them a cup of tea, or a sandwich or pastry.
  • Know what local services are available. This allows you to ask the person if they know about these and whether they have used them.
    • Jimmy's provides emergency accommodation
    • Cambridge Street Aid is where homeless people can apply for a grant to help them get off the streets
  • If you are worried about the vulnerability of someone sleeping rough then contact Street Link on 0300 500 0914 to inform them. This is a coordinated phone line to help inform the Outreach teams who work on the streets to help homeless people. If you are worried that a homeless person is in immediate danger, then phone 999. 

This year we are supporting the work of Winter Comfort


Three ways we can help WinterComfort:


1. Donate

WinterComfort provide learning and development opportunities to support people to move out of homelessness. 
They aren’t in a position to take any physical items, but we can support through giving financial donations online.
Here’s what certain donations would go towards:

  • £10 – pays for laundry powder for a week, giving people the dignity of clean clothes
  • £14 - pays for a cooked breakfast for a rough sleeper per week.
  • £50 - pays for 1-hour session with our in-house counsellor providing support with mental well-being and substance addiction issues
  • £100 will pay for essential house-hold items such as bedding, kitchen equipment and crockery for someone moving into accommodation
  • £250 – Pays for a CSCS Card and a health & safety qualification valid for 5 years enabling Service Users to access paid employment in construction.

Click here to donate

2. Support

You can find out more about how to support WinterComfort, by visiting their website.

WinterComfort run a number of projects and enterprises to support people in vulnerable positions.  One such project is their Women's Only Support project which offers specialised support for Women facing homelessness.  They work to provide a safe woman only space with a dedicated Project Worker and female volunteers, workshops including arts & crafts, mindfulness, yoga, aqua aerobics, IT skills, cooking and goal setting.

To find out how to volunteer with Winter Comfort, click here


3. Pray

  1. Please pray to God for the needs of the homeless community, that many would come to know His saving love.
  2. Pray for Winter Comfort and other local charities and agencies as they seek to help those on the streets.
  3. Pray for us as a church family to be welcoming to those in our immediate vicinity who find themselves on the street.

3. Fundraising Event 2021

Winter Comfort's Virtual Sleepout will take place on Friday 26th March.

The sleepout is being organised in partnership with Cambridge United Community Trust (who provide a huge amount of support for vulnerable people within the community) and all funds raised will be divided between them and Wintercomfort. For obvious reasons, we’re going with a virtual event this year, and we’re encouraging people to create their own sleepout event at home – in the garden, on their balcony, in their church (if compliant with restrictions), even under the kitchen table – anywhere that’s safe and legal and a little less comfortable than their own bed!

Whilst we can’t be together for this event, we will have a programme of activities throughout the evening to keep everyone connected – a virtual quiz, a live streamed bedtime story and updates from both charities. The real up-side of this virtual format is that we can expand our reach throughout the local community to include families which is something we wouldn’t be able to do in a ‘real’ sleepout setting. It’s free to participate but we’re hoping that each participating group will raise at least £50 through sponsorship. Participants can sign up alone or create teams of friends/family/colleagues and fundraise collectively.

Click here to find out more and register.
Louise Gilmore, 02/10/2020