Peterborough launches new campaign to help end street homelessness
A new partnership from across the city has come together to launch a campaign aimed at ending
street homelessness in Peterborough.
The partnership, called Safer Off the Streets Peterborough (#SOSPboro), brings together seventeen organisations from voluntary, faith, community and public service agencies who will work together to aid those who are sleeping rough on our streets.
The partnership’s campaign includes a new contactless card donation card window outside The Argo Lounge in St Peter’s Arcade which funds will directly help the street homeless; new outreach and rehabilitation programmes across the next 12 months and beyond; and a dedicated website –
www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk – bringing vital services and information together all in one place.
Christine Graham, Chair of the Safer off the Streets Partnership and Co-ordinator of Peterborough Street Pastors Scheme said: “Rough sleeping is the most visible and unacceptable consequence of homelessness. A recent count showed that 35 homeless people were sleeping rough on Peterborough’s streets. Alongside the number of people sleeping rough in Peterborough, there are many other individuals and households living in temporary accommodation and experiencing homelessness in our city.”
“Although there are many agencies across the city doing much to tackle the issue of rough sleeping, we felt a more targeted approach was needed. All the partners in Safer off the Streets believe that everyone has the right to a home, to have hope and to feel part of a community.
“That’s why charities and organisations across the city have joined up to create a network of support to help people who are sleeping rough, but also to look at ways to prevent and support people so they don’t end up on the streets in the first place.”
Christine added: “We also felt that although the people of Peterborough are already empowered to help, they are unsure about the best way to do this. Donations, however big or small, make a real difference to homeless and vulnerable people in Peterborough.
“We’ve now made it easy to donate money online, at cash donation points and a contactless card donation window. The website and social media will also keep people up to date on support available and to find out what items are in need.”
Donations received will primarily go towards funding the day to day running costs of the drop in hub which will provide advice on support services and health and wellbeing with any additional funds being used for personalised budgets for rough sleepers to encourage them to leave the streets for good.
The Safer off the Streets partnership’s initiatives include:
- A new contactless card donation point at the Argo Lounge in St Peter’s Arcade, off Bridge Street, allowing people to make an instant £3 donation using their bank cards. The ‘Tap and Go’ device can be used through the glass and is available at all hours, with donations going directly to the partnership to aid rough sleepers in the city.
- A Safer Off the Streets website – www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk – an information hub which allows people to make online donations quickly and easily, as well as providing details on locations where people can give food, furniture or other items or volunteer their time. The website also details where rough sleepers can find support across the city and sources of help.
- Cash donation boxes will also be placed at Peterborough Town Hall and the Visitor Information Centre, among other spots across the city.
- Dedicated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media channels providing up-to-date information, support available, and donations needed – @sospboro.
- A new Safer off the Streets drop in hub at The Garden House – led by Light Project Peterborough – will be reaching out into the city to offer practical support to rough sleepers who want to develop and move off the streets. In partnership with Peterborough Cathedral, numerous churches and the wider community, The Garden House drop in hub, located in Wheel Yard, will be open six days a week and offer support such as GP and health advice, housing guidance, volunteering activities and CV/job search.
- Outreach officers will work with individuals offering personalised plans and a clear offer to support them off the streets. Safer off the Streets will co-ordinate schedules for night shelters, food donations, cooked meals, volunteers and transportation, as well as in-shelter support services.
- A Rehabilitation package will be set up to help rough sleepers, aiming to take them from the first point of contact into night shelters, training, and ultimately housing and/or employment. These will offer training, jobs, and workshops, and give people the chance to participate in a ‘befriending’ scheme where volunteers can act as sponsors for rough sleepers in their first 12 months off the street.
- Peterborough Winter Night Shelter – The night shelter has been running since 2015 and has supported over 150 homeless people in Peterborough. This Winter season the night shelter will be running from 26 November until 18 March. Ten churches are working together to host our homeless guests and warm meals and beds, with loads of love and support to help people get off the streets will be offered.
On Wednesday, 10 October 2018, partners pledged their support to work together to tackle street homelessness by signing the Safer Off the Streets charter.
So far 17 organisations have joined the Safer off the Streets partnership. These are:
- Axiom Housing
- Care Zone
- Children of Adam
- Citizens Advice
- Cross Keys Homes
- Hope into Action
- Kingsgate Community Church
- Love and Humanity Peterborough
- Peterborough City Council
- Peterborough Food Bank
- Peterborough Soup Kitchen
- Peterborough Street Pastors
- Safer Peterborough Partnership
- Salvation Army
- The Light Project
- Veterans for the Homeless UK
- YMCA Trinity Group