Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation has learned about the valuable work of ‘The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope’ which was awarded BIG Lottery cash this year.
You may have heard about The Bridge. One of its events is the Christmas lunch for up to 100 homeless diners at one of Leicester’s most prestigious restaurants, The Case.
The Bridge recognises the importance of good nutrition for the most vulnerable in society as more people fall into food and fuel poverty.
The main role of the charity at the moment is the running of its three sessions a week serving food to homeless people. At the Salvation Army on Kildare Street, just off Charles Street, The Bridge provides high quality food for homeless men and women twice a week, and once at 9.30pm at the market place.
The Bridge was awarded £29,280 by the BIG lottery and this will part fund its new mentoring scheme. Liz Carney, Mentoring Co-ordinator, said:
“We have many wonderful volunteers already but we have now joined forces with Leicester University and have had an excellent response to the project from students wanting to volunteer. “
In winter people’s thoughts are often with those in society unfortunate enough to spend their lives on the streets. This year the issue is further complicated by the closure of several hostels in Leicester city and the impact of welfare benefit changes. Two further hostel closures are due in the spring 2014. The Bridge is running a Winter Night Shelter for rough sleepers for 6 weeks over the winter.
Liz said one result of the hostel closures is that many vulnerable people will be housed in private rented accommodation, which can be of a very poor standard. Some vulnerable people will find it very challenging to manage their own tenancy and will need significant support.
Mentors are important for this reason. They are trained to listen to people who are homeless and vulnerable. They can also help people access services they need, such as physical or mental health services, debt, housing and benefit services.
Business donors and individual philanthropists are invited to support the on-going project of training and supporting volunteers as mentors.
Donations can pay for day-to-day items used by the charity, such as stationery, paper, stamps and top ups of mobile phones; or larger gifts such as computer terminals for training and research by individuals.