Rough sleep­ers handed free phone power packs

Evening Times - - NEWS - By STE­WART PA­TER­SON

Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent HOME­LESS peo­ple sleep­ing rough on Glas­gow’s streets are to be given power banks to help them keep their mo­bile phones fully charged.

Si­mon Com­mu­nity Scot­land is hand­ing out the bat­tery power packs so peo­ple can al­ways be able to call for help.

The char­ity said rough sleep­ers are more likely to be at­tacked and robbed and hav­ing a phone could be a life­line.

The packs will be dis­trib­uted and col­lected by Si­mon Com­mu­nity street team vol­un­teers who will hand back fully charged ones.

Staff and vol­un­teers from the char­ity take part in nightly walks through the city cen­tre iden­ti­fy­ing rough sleep­ers and of­fer­ing help to any­one who needs it.

They help peo­ple ac­cess ac­com­mo­da­tion and health ser­vices and en­cour­age them to phone the helpline when they need as­sis­tance.

The Si­mon Com­mu­nity said it has iden­ti­fied there is a high level of mo­bile phone own­er­ship among rough sleep­ers.

How­ever, when their bat­tery runs out of charge they have dif­fi­culty find­ing a way of charg­ing it.

The char­ity hopes this will al­low peo­ple to be able to call sup­port ser­vices for help.

The packs con­tain a list of im­por­tant num­bers on them.

Hugh Hill, di­rec­tor of Ser­vices at Si­mon Com­mu­nity, said: “For most of us, our phone is a cru­cial con­nec­tion to our fam­ily, friends and the out­side world.

“If you’re on the street, it’s more im­por­tant than that; your phone is a life­line, se­cu­rity and, in some cases, it’s your only means of help.”

Si­mon Com­mu­nity Scot­land said a per­son sleep­ing rough is nine times more likely to com­mit sui­cide and al­most 50 times more likely to be robbed than the rest of so­ci­ety.

Mr Hill added: “Our fo­cus is al­ways about get­ting peo­ple off the streets but, where that’s not pos­si­ble, we want peo­ple to be safe – which is why we’re plan­ning to is­sue portable phone charg­ers to peo­ple on the street.”

Last win­ter, more than 600 peo­ple used the Glas­gow City Mis­sion win­ter shel­ter which opens to give peo­ple some­where to sleep in the cold­est months of the year.

The char­ity op­er­ates the Rough Sleep­ers and Vul­ner­a­ble Peo­ples (RSVP) ser­vice which can be con­tacted on on 0800 027 7466

The pub­lic is be­ing asked to do­nate £5 to pur­chase more power packs and top-up cards. Do­na­tions can be made by tex­ting CHRG35 to 70070.

A Si­mon Com­mu­nity Scot­land sup­port work­ers hands out a phone power bank to a home­less man

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