Bury Drop In supports Council in providing essential items and food to the vulnerable during housing crisis
A housing shortage and increased demand means that West Suffolk Council is providing temporary homes for up to six months to try to prevent people ending back on the streets and at further risk of Covid19.
Prior to the pandemic, the Council had, through support and accommodation, reduced the number of people rough sleeping down from 36 to eight.
West Suffolk Council has worked hard to fulfil the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ policy, ensuring people who were rough sleeping or in shared sleeping accommodation were provided with self-contained accommodation thus reducing the risk of COVID 19 infection. This led to an unprecedented demand for temporary and emergency housing for people in need of support.
It currently has 149 households in temporary or emergency accommodation including 30 families and 105 single people or couples, plus 14 rough sleeper beds. This compares to 83 households in June 2019.
It has managed, as have other councils, by making use of hotels as well as B&Bs. But many of these hotels are now beginning to start operating as commercial businesses which means the rooms will no longer be available to the Council to use as temporary or emergency accommodation.
Alongside all of this is, the Council anticipates more people could become homeless when the moratorium on evictions ends in August, while furlough pay reducing from July and ending in October, may also see more people struggling to pay their rent or mortgages.
There is a particular shortage of affordable housing for single people.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “In the longer term, the support of registered housing providers, more house building and more partnership working with private landlords will all be required to help meet the demand for homes.
“Our immediate need, and following recent Government announcements, is to ensure that we have homes available now. While we recognise that they are not ideal, these 15 temporary homes we are providing, offer a more immediate option.
“We have decided to locate these on Council owed land which already has the water and electric supply in place for immediate use. We will have staff on site providing support as needed. I must stress that this is a temporary measure in place for six months and we are happy to discuss other options with landlords or landowners who contact us. I’d also like to thank both Gatehouse and Bury Drop In who will help to provide food and other essentials and for the continuing support that these two charities offer some of our most vulnerable residents. I would also like to express my thanks to the hotels and bed and breakfasts businesses that have provided invaluable support to the Council during the Covid crisis and we look forward to continuing to work with many of them”
The Council will still use other forms of accommodation such as a reduced availability of hotels. It will also use bed and breakfasts, and homes across West Suffolk. It will use the six-month period to look for other housing options to help people.
Landlords and homeowners with empty properties are asked to contact the council which can offer not only rent guarantees, but will also provide landlords with a package of support throughout the tenancy - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bury Drop In Gift Aid form revised
Bury Drop In have revised our Gift Aid form. If you have previously signed an old version, please download the new form available to download here or visit our donate webpage.
Bury Drop In launches virtual meetings to keep in touch with volunteers
On Tuesday 26 May 2020, we held our very first Bury Drop In volunteers zoom coffee morning. This will be regularly held every Tuesday at 10am for all our volunteers to have a catch-up. It was lovely to see everyone who could join us for our first meeting.
Skipton donates another £1,000 to help Bury Drop In during covid-19 crisis
It’s a case of “double your money” for the Bury Drop In after Skipton Building Society made a second £1,000 donation to boost its work during the Covid-19 crisis. Last year, Bury Drop In were one of forty charities selected to receive a donation of £1,000 from Skipton’s inaugural £40,000 Community Giving scheme. Now, because of the testing times many charities find themselves in, the Society has decided to make a further £1,000 donation.
Bury Drop In are working together with other local community organisations and agencies including Bury Rickshaw, NHS Health Outreach, Gatehouse, Vineyard and Theatre Royal to ensure that guests are provided for and supported during the pandemic. In addition, a number of volunteers from Bury Drop In are keeping in contact with guests regularly through text and telephone.
Skipton Intermediaries launched Community Giving to give intermediaries the chance to reward charities and community groups which support housing and homelessness.
Paul Fenn, Skipton’s Head of Business Development, said: “We are delighted to donate another £40,000 to the 40 hardworking groups which were successful in our Community Giving scheme and are doing essential work for people such as the homeless. During the Covid-19 crisis we acknowledge the extra pressure being put on these charities and that is why we have made this donation."
Come and tweet with us on Twitter
Bury Drop In are now active on Twitter. Come and join in the conversation, at twitter.com/BuryDropIn
Supporting Bury Drop In Guests with a Text and Talk Service
As a result of having to close our sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to support our guests through a text messaging service, which was set up to keep in touch until it is safe to meet once again. We have a small team of volunteers manning the platform, providing our guests with support and friendship during this difficult time.
Coronavirus Update – Message from our Chairman
It is with great sadness that we must close the Drop In sessions until such time as the situation clarifies and it is safe to meet once again.
On Tuesday 17th March, Bury Drop In opened and provided a takeaway cooked meal and sandwiches. These were served from the entrance to Trinity, limiting the contact between volunteers and guests and also guest to guest.
Many of the volunteers are either in the at risk category or have family members who are in this area, as well as the guests who are also potentially at risk, and we cannot and must not put anyone’s health in jeopardy.
May I suggest that in the enforced break from action we use the time to pray. Pray for the guests, pray for the volunteers, pray for our town and country.
Together All the Way – The Levellers Support Bury Drop In
Bury Drop In and the Levellers work together at the start of their UK tour to collect donations from fans.
After a busy Christmas period, Bury Drop In were thrilled to receive a Facebook message from Matt Savage, Keyboardist from the Brighton Celtic influenced folk-rock band, the Levellers. He asked us if we would like to join them at The Apex, for the start of their UK tour, to collect donations from fans to raise the issue of homelessness in the local area. You can imagine our delight at the prospect of being on hand to collect donations and promote our work to a sold-out audience over two nights, Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 February 2020.
It didn’t take long to arrange sufficient volunteers to man the stand. We were asked to arrive at 5.30pm on the first night to meet with some of the band members and to provide us with enough time to set up before the doors opened to the public at 7pm. Fans came through the doors armed with bags of items including toiletries, socks and underwear. Lots of photos were taken during the course of the evening and uploaded to Facebook to record the generosity of everyone’s donations. During the performance, some of our volunteers flocked into the auditorium to watch the concert. The band finished at 22.45pm with the hit song, Beautiful Day, and as fans came out they came over to chat to us and donate lose change.
We found that many of our volunteers enjoyed the first evening so much, they came back on the second night to help out again. Over the course of two nights, we collected money and large amount of items. We cannot thank the Levellers fans enough for their compassion and encouraging words.
Following on from the two night event, we received a message from Matt and the band, he said, “Just wanted to say a massive thankyou to you for being part of what we are trying to do…hopefully you got plenty of more donations and raised money for your very worthy cause…Many thanks for everything you do to help others in need. All the best. Matt, Charlie and the Levellers family xx”.
High Sheriff visits Bury Drop In
Pictured L-R: Clive Eminson, Jackie, Designated Safeguarding Lead/Trustee, and Roz Eminson, High Sheriff of Suffolk.
Last Friday we were pleased to welcome Roz Eminson, High Sheriff of Suffolk to Bury Drop In. After her visit, Roz thanked us in an email saying, "Thank you so much for giving us your time to talk through some of the major issues and difficulties you face when trying to help your clients. It was interesting to see the way you work together with different agencies...I was also pleased to...have conversations with your trustees which certainly provided some harsh facts... Meeting the young lady who was a ballerina and hearing her talk about her situation highlighted very clearly just how difficult it can be to help those whose lives have become so complicated.
AGM & Service of Thanksgiving
We welcome everyone to join Bury Drop In for our annual general meeting to be held at Garland Street Baptist Church on Sunday 29th September 2019.
Bury Drop In launches new session, Table One
It became evident that with the guest numbers increasing, the sessions would soon reach full capacity and therefore we looked for a way to deal with the guests who realistically didn’t require the services that the Drop In offered. Many were settled in their own place and came for friendship and companionship to help them combat social isolation. From this group, who sat together on table 1 each time, we formed the spin off session called Table One. At the same time as we considered these issues, Realise Futures approached us and told us that they would like to be more involved. This fitted in perfectly with Table One and we were delighted to work alongside them. The session meets every Tuesday at the United Reformed Church. Members set up the small hall and pay 50p as a subscription fee to help with the running costs. Realise Futures devised a timetable to actively encourage self-help and progression, regularly delivering workshops such as an introduction to first-aid, safety in the home and hygiene in the kitchen. In addition, a weekly meal is planned, prepared and cooked for the whole of the group by members of Table One, some who have never peeled a potato before now. All members have embraced the session with enthusiasm and engagement, and have offered to support with the creation of further spin off sessions.
Talented sketch artist Jurek rebuilds life with help of Bury Drop In
Summer Newsletter available to download now
Ministry of Housing Visit Bury Drop In
Printmaking Exhibition held at Theatre Royal, 19/20 June 2019
Here are a collection of photos taken from an exhibition to showcase the prints that our guests have produced during the printmaking workshops in collaboration with the Theatre Royal. The exhibition was located in the Greene Room Bar during the performance of the More Things Change and set up in the environment of the Drop In.
The More Things Change
A new performance by Theatre Royal Community Company. This new play devised by the company, performed by the company, including song, music and a beautifully written script by Danusia Iwaszko is now available to book for. The play explores themes of homelessness and other social issues in Bury St Edmunds over the past 200 years and explores how things have changed or not. Come and be surprised by what will be an uplifting, enlightening, funny and moving evening celebrating the theatres 200th anniversary and the stories gifted to the theatre by community participants during the past 4 years.
Tickets are available now and can be booked via box office Theatre Royal. Click here to book.
Free Event at West Road Church 'One step Beyond Addiction'
'One Step Beyond Addiction' event at West Road Church on Sat 13th April at 7pm. For free tickets call 01284 723737
Looking for Change Campaign Launched in Newmarket
Donations Received from Waitrose Community Matters,
A big thank you to everyone who used their Waitrose green tokens to support the work of the Bury Drop In. A grand total of £583 raised!
Also, thank you to the parents and pupils of the Creative Education Centre Suffolk who raised £210 for us.
Plus, thanks to Mountain Warehouse for their support.
Town Cuts Rough Sleeping Amid Homelessness Crisis
Tanya Mercer, Reporter from ITV Anglia visits the Bury Drop In. To read the full article and watch the video footage, visit: www.itv.com/news/anglia/2019-01-07/town-cuts-rough-sleeping-amid-homelessness-crisis
Latest Newsletter - November 2018, Issue No. 7
Our newsletter is available to download now. Read all the latest from Bury Drop In.
Bury Drop In Launches Looking for Change Campaign to Combat Homelessness in West Suffolk
Bury Drop In has launched a campaign to help make the most of donations given to homeless people on the street. The Looking for Change campaign is backed by a number of partners including West Suffolk councils, Ourburystedmunds BID, Suffolk Police and Bury St Edmunds Town Council.
To read the full article, visit www.buryfreepress.co.uk/news/looking-for-change-campaign-launched-to-help-the-homeless-9047923