Why it is
worth doing

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

Why is it worth doing?

Homeless in Bristol

Ever since 1997 when the government set up the Social Exclusion Unit and it intensified its efforts to help the homeless, those in authority have not infrequently criticised soup runs, and even night shelters for "sustaining life on the streets." Outreach workers, who partly worked at night identified, and endeavoured to settle down 'rough sleepers', arranging accomodation in hostels and local authority flats, and also putting them in touch with detox units etc.

Voluntary agencies in Bristol, like us, however, have got on well with local government funded institutions. We refer our clients to the Compass Centre, Jamaica St., a council umbrella advice centre on accomodation, addiction etc. We have tried to help in diminishing begging for drugs, and outreach workers address our bi-monthly meetings occasionally.

We additionally co-operate with the unusually large number of other voluntary organisations working for the homeless in Bristol, which are represented on the Homeless Forum of the Bristol Churches Action Network. Some of our volunteers also work for the Julian Trust Nightshelter, and Caring at Christmas, which operates non-stop for a week over the Christmas period, like Crisis in London. But even then the Bristol Soup Run Trust goes out and finds people!

When it comes down to brass tacks there are still those half-a-dozen or more people who accept blankets from us, and 40-80 altogether are not there for nothing to accept our services.

The conclusion of a recent shelter conference was that, "many rough sleepers with multiple needs, having challenging behaviour are less problematic in the outdoor setting of a soup run, than those in enclosed premises; often street homeless people who use soup runs are banned from day centres." Also there will always be a need for smale-scale, food-based, outdoor organisations, to reach entrenched rough sleepers, who will not or cannot engage with 'indoor services'.

Mention must also be made of the Survival Guide published by Caring at Christmas, which is widely used by our volunteers to great effect.

Back to Top