Stu­dents moved to help rough sleep­ers af­ter re­search project

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Olivia Scull Print writer 01225 322273 olivi­aalexan­[email protected]­plc.com

When you’re out at 2am you see rough sleep­ers a lot more. It was an is­sue we wanted to ad­dress.

A group of stu­dents from the Uni­ver­sity of Bath has raised over £1,000 for Ju­lian House. Fol­low­ing a re­search project on home­less­ness in 2017 the School Of Man­age­ment group de­cided that they wanted to use those find­ings as a plat­form for gen­er­at­ing some tan­gi­ble ben­e­fit for rough sleep­ers and oth­ers who find them­selves in a very vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion of the edge of so­ci­ety. Be­ing stu­dents they of­ten saw the home­less at night. Stu­dent Tom Robin­son said: “When you’re out at 2am you see it a lot more. It was an is­sue we wanted to ad­dress. “We wanted to work with a char­ity that made a dif­fer­ence. Ju­lian House have been so great to work with. “We worked out that it would cost every stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Bath £1 per year to feed all the BANES home­less.” When de­cid­ing on how to fundraise, the stu­dents ap­proached Ju­lian House to dis­cuss their plans. Ce­cil Weir, the char­ity’s fundrais­ing di­rec­tor said he was de­lighted to be asked about the best way for­ward. He said: “Their ini­tial idea was to raise some funds and gen­er­ate as many shoe boxes as they could ie filled with small items that would of prac­ti­cal value. “Although these are use­ful it is sur­pris­ing how many we re­ceive, es­pe­cially now dur­ing the win­ter months. This in turn presents some­thing of a chal­lenge for us both in terms of stor­age and some­times, their suit­abil­ity. “Once I un­der­stood what they were try­ing to achieve I spoke with my col­leagues who are de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to ask what would be of most help. “They were quick to sug­gest sleep­ing bags, 80 litre ruck­sacks and steel Ther­mos flasks – re­ally use­ful items which would make rough sleep­ers’ lives eas­ier. “Although we have dra­mat­i­cally in­creased our ca­pac­ity to get peo­ple off the streets it’s still not enough and we are hav­ing to sup­port those who are out. “This is not a po­si­tion that we want to be in but that is the re­al­ity. My out­reach col­leagues are over the moon to have these ma­te­ri­als.” The team raised the money for the sup­plies by cy­cling the dis­tance of the width of the English Chan­nel at its widest point, which is 150 miles. In to­tal they raised £1,138 via their Just­giv­ing page and in per­son dona­tions. Ju­lian House have al­ready used £500 of the money on sup­plies for the home­less and will put the rest to good use. All six busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion stu­dents took part in the cy­cling. The team con­sisted of Tom Robin­son, Ge­orge Gill, Guy Rus­sell-wilks, Sarah Hutch­ings, Emily Tan­ner and Imo­gen Slade. The stu­dents also raised aware­ness for the home­less­ness is­sue on cam­pus, by sell­ing dough­nuts, put­ting up Ju­lian House ban­ners and hav­ing vi­tal con­ver­sa­tions about the im­por­tance of not ig­nor­ing the home­less and buy­ing them food. Like most good causes rais­ing funds is al­ways a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for Ju­lian House and a ma­jor pri­or­ity. In this way it can pro­vide life chang­ing ser­vices to very marginalised groups in so­ci­ety and cre­ate new projects which can sat­isfy un­met needs – not just dur­ing the win­ter months but 365 days a year. How­ever tar­geted sup­port in kind can also be re­ally valu­able as the Uni­ver­sity of Bath team has vividly demon­strated. Over the past 12 months di­a­logue with other sup­port­ers has re­sulted in: re­fur­bished IT equip­ment be­ing pre­sented from a lead­ing firm of lawyers; pro bono pro­fes­sional ad­vice and guid­ance; a com­plete bed­ding change at the char­ity’s main hos­tel and good qual­ity of­fice fur­ni­ture. By not spend­ing money on these items Ju­lian House can then spend more money on projects and ser­vices. Ce­cil is quick to point out that it’s all about tim­ing and need. He said: “At any one time our needs are dif­fer­ent. IT equip­ment may be re­ally valu­able at one point but on an­other day not. “The re­ally im­por­tant thing is to talk to a good cause first – a mes­sage which I’m sure would ap­ply to most char­i­ties.” Tom said: “It’s so im­por­tant that their needs are met. Lis­ten­ing to what a char­ity needs is re­ally im­por­tant .... It was good to see the tan­gi­ble prod­uct we man­aged to buy.” The Chron­i­cle is sup­port­ing the Ju­lian House Christ­mas ap­peal, which runs from now un­til the end of Jan­uary – with a tar­get of rais­ing £150,000 to­wards the char­ity’s work. You can donate on­line at www. just­giv­ing.com/ju­lian­house/donate or us­ing the coupon on this page.

Pic: Paul Gillis

Stu­dents with Ce­cil Weir of Ju­lian House af­ter rais­ing £1,000 to buy sleep­ing bags, ruck­sacks and Ther­mos flasks for the home­less

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