Summer appeal - 12/07/2021
Many of us are concerned by seeing people living and sleeping on the streets in the Winter time. We see stories in the media, online campaigns and all sorts of information on how to help people during periods of cold weather. In Sheffield, last winter saw the launch of the city council’s Winter Plan, which sought to ensure that people who sleep rough were safeguarded against the winter weather and the risks posed by the pandemic.
But how about during the summer months? Not so much of a problem right? Wrong!
First some figures: Last summer, between April and September 2020 Sheffield’s Street Outreach Team from Framework worked with 529 individuals on the streets. Between March and June 2021, the Archer Project supported 326 individuals. Definitely not an insignificant number.
So what are the issues that people on the streets face in the summer months?
Over the past 15 months, Covid has had a huge impact on the services that people on the streets are able to access. Day services have understandably had to reduce their numbers to ensure social distancing, and public places like libraries have been shut, so opportunities to get inside and out of the sun have been limited. It has been a challenge to find drinking water, cool showers and cool spaces to spend time in for many people.
The British weather can at times be very hot, leading to dehydration, sunburn and even sun stroke. People living on the streets have a higher chance of this happening as finding shade or shelter can be difficult. Many people who sleep rough have underlying health conditions which can be exacerbated by hot weather, while people’s mental health can also often worsen in the heat and using drugs or alcohol in hot conditions can put people at even greater risk.
Aimee Lowe, Team Leader from Framework’s Street Outreach Team says, “Items like sun hats and sun cream are expensive items. Being given things as simple as this can make all the difference to our clients. It can make them feel valued and more part of society when they have access to things that the rest of society have easy access to.”
This summer, in partnership with Framework and the Archer Project, we are asking for your donations of sun cream, sun hats, and bottled water to be given to people sleeping rough and living on the streets in Sheffield. Donations can be dropped off to the Archer Project between Monday and Friday from 8.30am to 2.00pm. Smaller tubes of suncream and bottles of water are more suited to people on the streets than larger ones, as they are easier to carry around.
Tim Renshaw, CEO of Archer Project says, “Long sunny days are better than cold wet days, but we see people suffering from sunburn and dehydration in the summer months. Bottles of water are always requested, and we quickly run out of them. Getting bottles of water and suncream for outreach teams to carry will make a big difference to people on the street.”
Homeless Link offer these tips to the general public if they are concerned by seeing people on the streets in the summer months:
- Smile. Stop and say hello and ask how the person is doing.
- Check if the person is happy to accept items such as water and sun cream to help keep them hydrated and protected from the sun. Umbrellas can also help people stay in the shade during particularly hot periods.
- Ask a nearby café if they will let you ‘pay it forward’, so the person in question can pick up cold drinks and food when needed.
- Make an alert via StreetLink. The alert will be passed to a local outreach service who will visit the person in question, aiming to connect them with local support services.
- Alternatively, contact the Street Outreach Team on 0800 066 5358.
Alison Wise for Help us Help, July 2021