Tim Henderson-Ross, head of Gloucestershire’s 2600 Freemasons, visited Gloucester City Mission recently to hear how their £2000 donation had been used. Gloucester City Mission provides safe, warm and friendly overnight accommodation for those who are unable to find it elsewhere and would otherwise be out on the streets.
Kevin Howie, General Manager of Gloucester City Mission, explained that the donation would enable the charity to continue to provide not only a safe place to sleep at night but also a hot shower, laundry facilities, change of clothing and a kitchen; but above all a warm welcome.
The people Kevin and his street team help are those who are sleeping on pavements in the middle of the night when it is cold, wet and occasionally dangerous. No-one is going to be doing that if they have an alternative. ‘The homeless’ are people just like anyone else except that life has been especially unkind to them. Bereavement, divorce and redundancy are hazards for all of us but for some it means losing their home and ending up sleeping rough. Coping with that may of course have left them reaching for drugs and alcohol or with mental health issues. It’s all too easy to think that someone else will take care of it: GCM rely on around 450 volunteers to keep that welcome going. You could be number 451, helping to pass on skills such as cooking, gardening or crafts which make an enormous difference to those who at the moment don’t have much in life.
“We don’t judge here.” Kevin told us.”Whatever has lead these people into being cold, wet, hungry and low they need help without question so we will give it without question. Activities here during the day such as woodwork and tapestry give them something tangible that they have created. That feeling of satisfaction can be hard to get out on the streets. We also offer counselling and therapy which they can take if they want to. Our aim is to restore a little dignity, confidence and hope to those who are at rock bottom.”
Tim Henderson-Ross took time for reflection in what is going to be developed as a memorial garden to those sleeping rough who didn’t make it, who died cold, wet, hungry and rejected by society. “We will miss them,” Kevin said firmly, “but we need people to spare a few hours to help us create that space to remember them by.”
If you can spare a few hours, donate some food or warm clothing, bedding and toiletries Gloucester City Mission in Eastgate Street Gloucester would love to hear from you. Contact Kevin Howie on