Who do we meet?

Bristol Soup Run Trust - Helping Homeless People on the Streets of Bristol

An example of the people we meet and help

We do meet a variety of people. Up to about six at each of our meeting points can be rough sleepers. We give them blankets, and after our visit they will often go to car parks and other quiet places between buildings.

Others we meet can be classified as those in need, or the rather ugly, but real, terminology "under class" can be used. They can be really short of money and genuinely hungry. This may arise, as with the rough sleepers, because they have lost their job, been victims of broken home or other relationships, bereavement, and physical or sexual abuse. We are willing to meet the challenge of those who live a chaotic lifestyle, and whose behaviour may reflect this. We do find our nightly service exhibiting familiar faces, can help here.

Some come straight from prison, or are in a difficult position having been discharged from the forces. Many have had some kind of mental illness, mild or severe.

Very importantly, the majority will have, or had, problems with addiction, alcoholic, drugs, or something else. If they are 'under the influence' they can vent their, perhaps momentary, ill-will on us!

It must be admitted that some do take advantage of us, those with adequate means and accommodation, young people in hostels, and even people in trouble with the police. But here, again, a positive and constructive approach is worthwhile.

Some are afraid to go to homeless accommodation, or other agencies, because of violence or having their possessions or medications stolen. Others have also been banned.

There is also a problem of "hidden homelessness." People living inadequately in squats or with friends (sofa surfing).

One thread going through all these people is the characteristic of being a loner. They are all normal people who have had some bad luck along the way. Just being friendly and talkative can be something to them...not just giving out material things. A single volunteer can be the first person one of our clientele has met that day.

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