Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. It’s not always about choice. It is not necessarily foreseen. It doesn’t have to be forever…
It has been reported that there are over 320,000 people sleeping on the streets of Britain and according to the housing charity Shelter, this figure is likely to be underestimated.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive said in relation to recent Government statistics: “Record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room. We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness.”
And act is exactly what Carlie Palmer and Sue Bright did.
The two friends and work colleagues from local radio station, Hot Radio, knew enough wasn’t being done for people living on the streets and set up Hot for Homeless, a group of volunteers who distribute food and everyday essentials to the street homeless in Bournemouth on a weekly basis. About to celebrate its six-month anniversary, we talk to Carlie Palmer, Co-Founder at Hot for Homeless and Managing Partner, Ianthe Slinger at Letchers Solicitors, who along with the entire team are avid supporters of the community group.
With a plan in place, Sue and Carlie took to social media creating a Facebook page that instantly engaged so many people. Carlie said: “The reception and support we received from day one has been beyond amazing and totally surprising. We had several early adopters of our campaign, including Letchers Solicitors and we have been truly blown away by the sheer amount of donations we have received for our friends on the street. Also joining the team in its infancy were our volunteers; Callum Hooker and Rachel Kitcat, whom have been totally amazing and continually offering much needed and incredibly valued support.”
“It’s clear to see from our Facebook statistics that our engagement with the local community is ever increasing and we are seeing so many more local businesses reaching out to us and offering their support. It’s obviously an issue that resonates with so many people, for so many different reasons.”
Ianthe Slinger added: “As a local business, we are always looking to help the local community where we can. Both Sue and Carlie bring such enthusiasm to a cause, we as a firm, are proud to support. Life’s tough at times and has a habit of changing at the drop of a hat, sometimes for the good and unfortunately sometimes for the worst, you just never know what’s around the corner. Being able to offer essentials which we sometimes take for granted to people that need them the most could be considered a small act but, it is an act that has a massive impact on those that need it the most.”
During the first few weeks, Carlie and Sue received so many valuable donations all which made a difference to people’s lives on the street. The one thing which was slightly slower to get moving was donations of food. Not to be defeated and being the powerhouses that they are, both Sue and Carlie took it in turn to make rounds of sandwiches and things have certainly come a long way since then.
“We now work with several companies who provide regular support in providing food for our homeless friends. Within the first few weeks The Moose Kitchen came onboard and now we even have our own ‘Hot Burger’ where we receive £1 from the sale every time it’s ordered. We were also successful in our application to Greggs to receive unsold food and we are also eternally grateful to The Marsham Court Hotel for its continued support.”
With donations from the public coming in thick and fast, storage soon became an issue. Ianthe said: “Having worked closely with Carlie and Sue, we understood that collecting and distributing the donations was becoming logistically challenging. To help streamline the process, we nominated our office in Ringwood as a designated collection point, ensuring that Carlie or Sue would only have to collect from one point.”
What has been overwhelming for the team at Hot for Homeless is the genuine compassion people have shown and the random acts of kindness people have undertaken in support of the campaign. “We have one friend who suffers with Crohn’s Disease and needs a special drink to ensure his health and wellbeing, so we took to our Facebook page and have been blown away, we now have enough shakes to last him for now.
“We also have a young lady who donates £15 a month from her wages because she wants to make a difference.”
Having worked incredibly hard over the past six months the team at Hot for Homeless were delighted to receive £1,000 from the Aviva Community Fund. Carlie said: “This money will make such a massive difference and secure the future for Hot for Homeless going forward. We never give out money and always buy what people need to survive and items which make them feel like normal human beings.”
With spring and summer on the horizon we will be looking for essentials to help our friends on the street get through the hot months. Ianthe added: “We have been blessed with so many winter clothes, sleeping bags, coats, shoes etc, but now is the time to start thinking about how we can help once the weather gets warmer. We will be collecting water bottles, mini juice bottles, soft drinks, suntan lotion, wet wipes and summer clothes. Our office is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday and we are always grateful for any donation no matter of its size.”
So, what does the future hold? Carlie told us: “We are committed to helping ease the pain and suffering of these guys out on the streets and giving them warm clothes, essential items and most of all kindness. Simply taking the time to sit down and talk is priceless and actually doesn’t cost a thing. Going forward, our ultimate aim is to help people get off the street and into permanent accommodation.
“On behalf of Sue and I, we would like to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone who has helped along the way, there are so many of you, it would be impossible to name everyone. But, you know who you are and for that, you should know that you have made a difference and one that will not be forgotten.”
If you would like to get involved with Hot for Homeless in anyway, please message the Hot for Homeless team via its Facebook page and to find a full list of collection points.
Letchers Solicitors are highly experienced in all matters of family law and the firm prides itself on having attracted very experienced lawyers from across the UK. Letchers has the ability to handle personal yet complex issues and these skills have been refined over its long and successful history. If you need any assistance with a legal matter you are facing or may arise in the future contact a member of the team on 01425 471 424.
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