StreetCare Scotland is a volunteer led initiative run by Humanist Society Scotland to help people in need on the streets of Scotland’s cities.

StreetCare Glasgow has been running for the past eight years and works with other support agencies in the city as well as church and other communities groups carrying out similar work.

We are currently fundraising to help establish StreetCare Edinburgh later in 2018.

 

StreetCare Glasgow

Humanist Society Scotland has been involved in the TRUN project for 8 years although the concept itself has been operational for some 25 years. This is a nightly soup kitchen based, all seven nights of the week, on the pavement at the corner of Cadogan St and W. Campbell St in Glasgow City Centre. It is delivered by various groups who are community or church based with each group being responsible for one night of the week.

Our street based stall offers soup and hot drinks, Irn Bru, sandwiches, fruit, crisps, biscuits, tablet etc. The StreetCare Glasgow project team have developed very close and productive relationship with two Marks and Spencer stores and two Pret a Manger stores who, at their close of business, allow us to pick up any unsold food which is going out of date that evening. This supply does vary and therefore can be unpredictable however mostly includes sandwiches, bakery products and/or fruit and vegetables.

The StreetCare Scotland project works on a aim of having “Zero Waste” and most nights there is little left over. In any instances where the Glasgow team does have food left it is taken to the Talbot Centre, a homeless hostel near the city centre, where it is always well received.

Over the past two years the StreetCare Glasgow project team have built strong links links with other projects that we are able to work with positively and also provide signposting to clients of other statutory services that they may be able to access for support.

We have seen a significant amount of success on a Thursday evening through this soup kitchen approach with around 60 clients being supported with food and hot drinks on average over a 1-2 hour period. The project also distributes laundered second hand clothing, mostly donated outer layer warm garments.

While the target group for the StreetCare Scotland project are the homeless, rough sleepers and others in destitution, StreetCare Scotland has a non-judgemental approach, offering support to those who seek it. Due to the volunteer nature of the project it would not be appropriate to evaluate need, and in many cases this would result in ‘self-restriction’ of clients seeking help, often who can be nervous about discussion their personal situations. However our volunteers do have scope for conversation and offer guidance or signposting to where to get assistance. Part of the unique offer of the StreetCare Scotland project is our volunteers give time to listen to clients, as often they can face loneliness and social isolation.

The volunteers have nothing to ‘sell’ or ‘convert’ and this time to listen is offered completely unconditionally. The StreetCare Glasgow team have built positive relationships with the Simon Community project which provide emergency 24 hour support to homeless people and our volunteers carry contact details for the Simon Community in case of urgent need of referral.

Feedback from clients is extremely positive. The StreetCare Glasgow project on a Thursday evening are very popular because, unlike other projects operating on other evenings we are not there to proselytise. Our Humanist objectives for doing this work are virtually always unspoken.

Our second workstream within our StreetCare Glasgow operation is a mobile volunteer unit. The TWALK was conceived as it became increasingly apparent that we were perhaps not reaching and therefore not helping those who needed our help the most. There are people in the late evening, in the city centre (and further afield we are discovering) who will not come to the TRUN. They are often “roofless” and spending the night on the street and/or begging and for both reasons will not desert their favoured patch, and in some cases they are not able to mix with groups of other people.

The TWALK takes the service to them. We operate this service currently in Glasgow on a Wednesday evening, each week over the last few months. We have two teams of four volunteers walking round the city centre for about three hours seeking out people in need. These teams carry supplies of care packages to allow us to offer sustenance and some warmth (hot soup and clothes) and a chat with or without some advice as needed.

The volunteer teams have become more aware of where to find people and more aware of what their needs are. We can over the course of an evening sometimes impact on upwards of 40 people. We are also learning that by the time of evening we are out with our teams we are mainly finding roofless people who will not have accomodation for that night. The presence of what has been called “professional” beggars is minimal.

As with the TRUN there are no eligibility requirements and the service is non-judgemental. If people ask for or are happy to accept help they get help. We are getting much better at engaging and discovering if there is other help needed and, in conjunction with our newly established positive relationships with The Simon Community, providing at least pointers to where that help might be found. This might be help with finding a hostel or help with access to the welfare resources available. We are in very recent weeks also discovering a demand in the West End of the city so our future plans involve looking at how we can help those in these areas.

All of us find our involvement to be worthwhile and rewarding and usually a fun outing for an hour or so around 20:30 on a Thursday evening.

If you would like to know more and would consider becoming one of our volunteers please email us.

We will be delighted to answer any questions and agree a way forward to joining the rota.

StreetCare Glasgow Team