In recent weeks we have started an outreach operation and have moved onto the streets in search of rough-sleepers due to decreasing numbers at Cadogan Street.
Cadogan Street has been our base for a number of years now and with a few other homeless services nearby it seemed to be the best place to find rough-sleepers. However, in recent times there just haven’t been the same numbers coming along and sometimes we can wait weeks before we see a genuine rough-sleeper.
That is not to say those who do come down to Cadogan Street are not genuine. Everyone who comes down there looking for help is vulnerable and we understand they now rely on us and we have a duty of care to them. We will always have a presence there but if we can help more people by spending some time out on the streets looking for people then that is what we intend to do.
We are explicitly a group who are there to help the homeless of Glasgow and we didn’t really feel like that is what we were achieving and led by two of our volunteers, Robert and Davie, we have taken to the streets in recent weeks to find those poor souls who we know are sleeping on the cold pavement every night.
It has been a learning process and started with a couple of the guys just taking to the streets with a few bags of underwear and toiletries. We have been taking the van out most recently and have been surprised by just how much of our stock we have been able to hand out.
As you all can probably guess it absolute chaos out there on the streets. For all we are told Scotland is a progressive wee country there is nothing forward thinking about our polices in helping rough-sleepers.
In England and Wales there is a system in place for the public to phone in and inform the local services of any rough sleepers. Here we have nothing like that and in fact our man Robert was approached by the police last week on Buchanan Street and asked if they could use our phone number to give out to people phoning them to report rough-sleepers!
We would like to help the state with this but we don’t think a small band of volunteers giving up their time should be solely responsible for the destiny of Glasgow’s rough-sleepers. Sure, we can offer a sleeping bag, clothing or toiletries to try and help ease their suffering but we can’t offer accommodation or the professional after-care and support these people need.
Our man Robert was standing outside this tent on Buchanan Street when the police officer approached him.
The outreach work is using up a lot of our stock and helping us reach more people. It will augment other plans we have for expanding our operation in the near future.
In the past year or so we are lucky to have received some fairly large donations and have held a numbers of meeting discussing possible projects.
We’ve something in mind and are almost at the stage of finalising the idea. When we have signed off on it with prospective partners we will post the news on these pages!