HARC in the new normal

HARC in the new normal - 14/12/2020

As with pretty much everything in 2020, Homeless and Rootless at Christmas (HARC) will look and feel different quite this year, due to the pandemic.

HARC is now in it’s 41st year, having provided a safe and warm day shelter for homeless and rootless vulnerable people between Christmas and New Year since 1989. Regular years see volunteers serving three hot meals a day over the festive period, with guests welcome to spend the entire day at HARC, should they wish. As well as the food, a warm welcome, company and something to do helps those who attend get through what can be a cold and lonely time of year. 

You can read our blog about HARC from a previous year here: http://blog/my-harc-experience.

For 2020, HARC will still be based at the Archer Project in Sheffield Cathedral, running from Christmas Day until New Year's Day, opening each day from 8.30am. Due to social distancing guidelines, and to operate in a Covid-secure way, this year's guests will be served with takeaway breakfast and lunch. "Meals on Wheels" will continue to be delivered to more vulnerable guests in accommodation across the city too, as has been happening since March.

HARC typically relies on 40 or so volunteers each day to keep the project running, prepare and serve food, and to chat with guests to make their time more enjoyable. This year, volunteer numbers are much reduced, to around 8 per day. Help us Help spoke with regular volunteer Di about how she was feeling about the HARC this year.

"My overriding feeling in the run up to HARC this year is that I'm really sad we can't open as usual, although obviously I understand why. HARC is usually a busy, loud, uplifting and caring place, and I'm worried about where our guests are going to go over the festive period, especially if the weather turns cold and wet. A lot of the work we do at HARC involves sitting and chatting to guests, building up a rapport and offering friendship to help them feel less isolated, but this year that face-to-face contact has to be massively reduced. We are all looking forward to a return to 'normal' for next year, whatever that means!"

As in previous years, the support of local businesses and the community has been invaluable to HARC. Long term supporters, PJ Taste continue to support with menu planning, and Pimlico Pizzas will be attending the project one day during the week, providing takeaway pizza slices for guests. The Singapore Society from the University of Sheffield will be putting together takeaway treat bags for guests to spread a little festive cheer.

You can support HARC by donating much needed cash here:  or when doing your Christmas shopping on Amazon too.


Alison Wise for Help us Help and HARC

Help us Help is a collaboration of local charities, Changing Sheff, SHU, University of Sheffield, BID, Safer Communities Partnership and other services. We share information about the support available to people rough sleeping and begging in Sheffield, along with providing advice and guidance for businesses and the general public about how to best support people on the streets.