The Streetcare Volunteers logo. Text reads "Streetcare Volunteers" in yellow on black and black on yellow, the colour combination shifting from one line to the next.

Streetcare Volunteers now an independent charity

July 25, 2023

After more than a decade supporting homeless people as part of Humanist Society Scotland, Streetcare has become an independent charity. Its core aim is to help people on the streets and precariously housed people, including by redistributing unused food. Streetcare’s team also provide a much-needed listening ear and practical support.

As of 1 July 2023, Streetcare Volunteers is running independently as Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation number SC052348. Based in Glasgow, the charity will now develop on a grassroots basis and seek other sources of funding and support.

Humanist volunteer and founding member of Streetcare Bob Scott says the project began when he and several other Humanist Society members decided to do something to promote the practical values of humanism. He says: “We wanted to find something hands-on to do rather than limiting ourselves to discussions about the philosophical aspects of humanist belief.”

We wanted to find something hands-on to do rather than limiting ourselves to discussions about the philosophical aspects of humanist belief. Our original group considered various options but we settled on the suggestion of a soup kitchen because it could be easily established and was relatively simple to operate.

Bob Scott, co-founder of Streetcare
StreetCare Volunteers at work. Two volunteers in hi-vis jackets load donated food onto a trolley for distribution to those in need.

Bob continues: “Our original group, whimsically known as the Catalytic Converters, considered various options. Some were more fanciful than others. But we settled on the suggestion of a soup kitchen because it could be easily established and was relatively simple to operate. We felt that it should not require volunteers to make an unrealistic commitment of their time and energies. Nor should it cost much to run.” 

Back in 2011, the Glasgow-based group helped set up a stall every Thursday evening and on some Sundays. Around ten volunteers would provide tea, coffee, soft drinks, and hot chocolate. They also offered goodies such as homemade tablet, crisps, biscuits, and cake. The numbers involved in operating the T- RUN, as it became known, grew considerably. Once the service became established, food outlets including M&S, Lidl, Prêt, Sainsburys and Greggs started offering surplus items. It was not unusual for ten or more crates of bread, fruit, sandwiches and pastries to be distributed.  Nothing was wasted.  

Over a decade later, demand for Streetcare’s services sadly remains. On their weekly Wednesday evening walks (known as T-WALKS) volunteers typically encounter around 30 people needing assistance.  Their T-DROP activity now takes place five nights a week, with volunteers making 15 different collections each week and re-distributing food to hostels and refuges. Sometimes, fresh flowers are brought to care homes.

Craig Campbell, Trustee and Coordinator of Streetcare Volunteers, says: “As a result of our volunteers a lot of food is saved from going to waste. Instead it is going to people who really need it, and whose lives are genuinely enhanced by receiving it.”  He added: “We know from the responses we receive how much what we do is appreciated.”

Streetcare Volunteers can now be contacted directly by email or through the Streetcare Volunteers website. Humanist Society Scotland would like to thank the brilliant volunteers who founded Streetcare and helped it become an independent charity.

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