Ahead of our winter jacket collection this weekend we thought we would take the chance to give you all a brief run down on how we operate.
As you probably know we visit the soup kitchens at Cadogan Street and look for rough sleepers and other vulnerable people who need help with clothing, sleeping bags and toiletries.
Winter jackets and trainers are the staple items we rely on and hand out from our van in troves most weeks to our friends on the streets. Due to the cost of both we hold appeals and ask the public to donate old or new items.
We also hand out a lot of sleeping bags and get these donated after the charitable sleep outs that have become popular. Underwear, gloves, hats, jeans, jogging bottoms, hooded tops and toiletries we buy in new.
With some of the items we buy in like underwear and toiletries it is obviously necessary to do so but with the clothing items listed above we do it to avoid being overwhelmed.
Donations of used clothing are becoming problematic within charitable circles in Glasgow. So much has been donated that a few groups have had to take to renting out storage space to hold it.
Some of it is useful but a lot of it is junk that people simply wanted out of their homes. More to the point it is the abundance of it and for the amount of homeless people in Glasgow the donations of used clothing have far exceeded the need.
On the streets we genuinely cannot give it away and try to not take donations of used clothing anymore so that is why we buy the items we sometimes need like jeans and hooded tops.
We are constantly approached on social media and that is testament to the public’s charitable spirit amidst the austerity of recent years.
A familiar request is the offer to come aboard and volunteer. Whilst we are extremely grateful for the approaches to come aboard, we are a very small team and have plenty people lined up should we ever need them.
We are very grateful to all our donors, like young Amy Don pictured below, and they help us to operate independently. Other groups who have charitable status and receive the funding that brings from grants may feel hamstrung by having to keep the authorities onside, but we don’t have that problem and operate how we see fit only.
For instance, you will never read the Simon Community or the City Mission continually highlight the 47 people who died on our streets last year in fear of embarrassing the authorities who fund them.
Nor would you ever see us shun a homeless person because the have fallen afoul of the council’s rulebook.
Unlike them we don’t get salaries and do our thing purely on a voluntary basis. Our volunteers are with us purely because of their collective spirit.
A lot of the bigger groups with charitable status/big funding approach us asking them to supply them with sleeping bags and the like and whilst we sometimes help, we are also getting wiser and asking what they are doing with their own funds.
We’ve no desire to be part of the homeless industry which sees millions of pounds wasted in Glasgow and Scotland every year on hairbrained projects, perpetual research, exorbitant salaries and conferences and junkets.
As always stated, we are just a small group bringing relief to the homeless, but we also take a lot of pride in exposing those in authority who seem incapable of finding solutions.
Whilst the carnage and misery continue The Invisibles are constantly evolving. In our early days we operated almost entirely by supplying other groups, but we learned that running around after others was not getting anyone anywhere. Our recently fallen Volunteer McFarlane then had the vision to take the group from that to the street group we are today, operating out of Cadogan Street every Wednesday night.
Today we continue moving forward – one of our anonymous donors we mentioned on these pages recently has given us a significant sum, and after a lot of deliberation we have decided upon a new project that will be announced next week all going well.
We will continue at Cadogan Street, finding rough sleepers and other vulnerable folk and bringing a little relief to their lives, but we also hope to fill another void with our new project too.
We would also like to thank MTG Legal Services for their recent donation.
Tune in next week to read about our new venture.