Last Friday’s group night out wasn’t a typical one for a group of Highlander colleagues and I this weekend.
Darryl Beresford, Elizabeth Spence, Rich Chadwick, Sean Hawkins and myself donned thermals, hats and gloves and bedded down in sleeping bags for the night as we slept outside Sheffield Cathedral, to raise funds and awareness of charities work with homeless and vulnerable adults in Sheffield.
The Cathedral Archer Project has been running for just over 25 years, helping homeless people achieve a better life by supporting them to:
- Develop their independence
- Improve their ability to tackle setbacks
- Improve their ability to identify and change negative behaviour
- Improve their wellbeing
We spent time talking to the volunteers at the project, learning about the support offered. From health and hygiene, through to food, drinks, clothing and laundry. We gained an insight into the issues and adversities that homeless people face. We also spent a time with homeless and former homeless people, to learn first-hand how life is when you have no-where to call home: Where and how you survive and how projects such as Archer are making positive changes and helping people who have slipped out of society.
Putting together all of what we have seen and learned, it is clear that our societies stereotypes of the homeless does not reflect the reality.
Many of the people we met and heard about had no choice in the path that took them to be homeless. We heard stories of neglect and worse. Many had made one simple wrong choice that had led them to the streets. Trusting the wrong person, losing their job, even trying to find work in a different place.
One thing is clear. This group of people will go forward and help where we can. The homeless all have their own story, they are all in need in some way and all need support to survive. If you would like to help then talk to us. If you would like to donate to our just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/Darryl-Beresford-2015/