If the week of the 7th of November is anything to go by, it’s going to be a cold, wet winter. Fortunately for residents in high-risk flood areas and rough-sleepers, The Salvation Army is on hand to provide much-needed assistance in the form of shelter and hot meals.
The heavy rain in Doncaster and Sheffield on the 7th of November proved The Salvation Army’s readiness as it mobilised to open a rest centre for evacuees, complete with emergency accommodation, hot drinks and snacks. The charity quickly responded to the Doncaster City Council’s request for help with church leaders, volunteers, and voluntary sector partners stepping forward to lend a hand.
Commenting on the charity’s readiness, Doncaster Salvation Army leader Alan Bawden said, “Our rota of 50 people are prepared and ready to be involved, supporting people who arrive at our church, offering a friendly welcome and a listening ear.”
Keeping rough-sleepers warm and dry
The Salvation Army in Sheffield is a partner in the local authority’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). As part of the protocol, on the 8th of November The Salvation Army’s Charter Row Lifehouse opened its doors to provide safe, dry shelter to rough sleepers in the city.
The charity provides aid to rough-sleepers throughout the year, but demand rises sharply in winter.
As service manager, Andy Parkinson, said, “Life is tough on the streets and people find themselves even more vulnerable when unable to shelter from severe cold, heat, rain, or gales. Although some are not yet ready to take up the support services available, this extra provision can make the difference. It also provides another avenue for them to explore the help that is on offer”.
The Salvation Army’s service is the simple and underrated hand of friendship. Many rough-sleepers are isolated, perhaps out of necessity, and they miss out on the unconditional care and support of close friends and family. The Salvation Army steps in and fills this gap, providing a safe, non-judgemental place for those experiencing homelessness to get help when they feel they need it most.
The Salvation Army’s Territorial Emergency Response Officer, Adrian Clee, said, “It can be worrying and stressful having to leave where you feel safe and not knowing when you can return, so our church will be providing space for people to relax, have a warm drink and refreshments, and chat to our friendly team of ministers, staff, and volunteers during this time.”
He continued, “The Salvation Army is regularly called upon to provide comfort and safety to people in distress, in addition to our year-round work supporting those who are most vulnerable.”