As well as a hot meal they also have access to showers, clothes and toiletries. And throughout the week the charity provides their clients with a wide array of advice and support, from legal advice to health check-ups and yoga sessions.
It’s all part of their drive to help some of Leicester’s most vulnerable residents go from homelessness to hope, in a city where more than one in five of the residents live in a household classed as ‘income deprived’.
Keith, who set up The Bridge in 2009 explained: “We’re revolutionary in many ways.
“We’ve started a fitness group because if you’re feeling better about yourself you can engage with more learning. We’ve got funding to start art and therapy groups, we’re going to start a gardening group - things designed to make people feel better about themselves, to build hope.
“It will take five years for these people to realise their potential but we can see the vision we have is going to work.”
The Bridge work from a hub based close to the city centre where they invite student doctors, legal students and the Job Centre to come and work with the city’s homeless, and they regularly have around 150 people looking for help and support at any one time. They also raise much-needed funds from their mobile coffee wagon, financed by a grant and loan from social investment group Key Fund.
Patrick Harris, 52, is an outreach worker with the charity, who was inspired to help others after he lived on the streets for four years.
He said: “The Bridge is part of my life. I’m here six days per week, I know how much it’s needed.
“I get up at 4am, ride my bike into town - say come down, get them something to eat, a shower, a change of clothes, ask them questions – do you have a doctor, are you on benefits? When they’re in the building we can slowly work with them.
“It’s about love. These guys are missing the love. Someone to sit down and talk to them and say how’s your day, how do you feel – it’s just that love.”
The Bridge need donations of clothes and toiletries for the homeless people they help as well as unwanted furniture which will help those moving into homes from the street.
For more information see https://bridgeleicester.org/
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Original Article by Jenna Sloan