Foundation partner launches homeless outreach project
Wed 20th September 2017
A new project, aiming to help rough sleepers in Glasgow, which is being supported by the Rangers Charity Foundation was officially launched today.
Simon Community Scotland’s Street Cycles project will see volunteers cycle out to offer support to those in need who have chosen to avoid Glasgow city centre.
Street Cycles teams will use touring bikes loaded up with basics such as food, clothing, first aid, needle exchange kits, and sleeping bags. They will also be trained in providing psychological counselling and emotional support, plus in giving practical advice on how people might access wider services in the city.
One third of the money raised from the Foundation’s Big Ibrox Sleep Out events, which take place on November 30 and December 1 and 2, will go towards running the project.
The innovative outreach service will be staffed exclusively by highly-trained volunteers, who will help the charity rise to the challenge of dealing with the estimated 1,000 people who sleep rough in Glasgow every year.
Speaking at the launch of the project, which is believed to be the UK’s first pedal-powered homeless outreach service, Hugh Hill, director of services at Simon Community Scotland, said: “We are encountering growing numbers of homeless people in the south and west of the city, most of them women concerned about their safety in the city centre.
“Our ability to cover the more outlying parts of the city is inhibited by staff resources, as well as geography.
“We are bringing in volunteers to increase the scope of our cover and using bikes to reach a wider number of people, increase the visibility of the work we do, and distribute supplies.”
Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing at the Scottish Government, also spoke at the launch. He said: “Tackling and preventing homelessness is a key priority for the Scottish Government and I’m delighted to launch this innovative outreach cycle scheme, that will enable Simon Community’s volunteers to help vulnerable people who are sleeping rough in areas outside the city centre.”
The next stage for Simon Community Scotland is to get more people to come forward who want a unique and rewarding volunteering challenge.
They will undergo a training programme which – among other things – will involve lifesaving first aid, including the administration of the opiate reversal drug, Naloxone.
Volunteers’ specialised training will also include becoming a certified Cycling Scotland Cycle Patroller and reaching Velotech Bronze level, a cycling industry-recognised bike maintenance qualification.
People who think they have what it takes to rise to this unique volunteering opportunity are encouraged to visit http://www.simonscotland.org/support-us/volunteer-with-us/ to register their interest.