Photo from Derby News
Street Safe is a volunteer run project to help homeless people in Derby. Find out more:
The group was set up originally by 2 of us that wanted to go out onto the streets of Derby and give a homeless person a warm pair of socks and a Mars Bar.
One of the original coordinators uncles had suffered with mental health issues all of his life, and was living in Kingsway hospital for many years. When care in the community was brought in he was discharged, but was unable to cope as he had never had to do for himself. Due to the stress he found it easier to live on the streets. He was always taken clean socks and Mars bars by his family members, and offered a room but refused. Eventually he passed away, alone on Derby bus station. This was one of the main reasons the group was set up, as no one should feel alone with no help and no one to turn to.
We quickly learnt that the homeless people of Derby needed a lot more than socks and chocolate, so we set up a group on Facebook asking the community to support the cause. The group is growing and growing, with over 2000 members and rising. We ask for warm clothing, socks, scarves, gloves, hats, sleeping bags or blankets, toiletries, and any tinned food as we know there are some people staying in hostels who can use the facilities to cook, but also packet food, cakes, biscuits, chocolate bars etc, the list could go on forever.
The community of Derby have been really supportive and this enables us to go out as often as we do. At the minute it’s every other night, and the nights we aren’t out giving, we are collecting donations. Caroline and Jane are the main leaders, they oversee everything and deal with any problems or concerns. They also take volunteers out to see what is done, and to speak to the people that receive donations. Volunteers are always placed with one of the original team. A strict set of guidelines are explained to every volunteer and the whole of the team must adhere to them. All of the main team are DBS checked, and at least half are first aid trained. We all work during the day, so all Streetsafe work is in the evenings or weekends. We are currently looking at fundraising to enable us to pay for a essential items and training for volunteers.
The group will be continuing throughout the year. The aim is to be able to go out every night once the night shelters close. We will set up a designated place to be at certain times, so people will know where to come to us. There will also be a team walking around giving out items needed and advising people of where we will be if anything further is needed.
We have the information about where to go for free food, information and other help. We try and encourage people to access the night shelters when they open up again for the winter, instead of staying on the streets. We have also helped people that have started off sleeping on the streets and stayed with them through to getting into a hostel or shared accommodation until they are on their feet. As word has got out about the help and support we give, we have also given out food parcels and helped people that have been sanctioned and lost other support.
We never turn anybody away. If someone is cold and hungry we will do all we can to help provide them with the essential items they need to keep warm. No one goes away feeling hungry, and they are given a pack-up for their lunch the next day.