A homeless shelter in Sheffield has appealed for donations after the cost-of-living crisis is continuing to put a strain on the rising need for its services. The Sunday Shelter, who operate out of Victoria Hall Methodist Church in the city centre, are the only service available in the city to the homeless and vulnerable on a Sunday.
Support The Sunday Shelter
Volunteer Lucy Fox, 27, of Sheffield, said:
“Since the cost-of-living crisis, we’ve seen a huge rise in people coming to us for basic needs with average guests rising from 60 to 110 every week. The guests are coming to us in worse condition including soiled and no clothing.
“But with the increased demand has come increased costs from food to rent. We’ve really had to double down and make sacrifices to keep the service running, so this fundraiser is a lifeline.”
The donations raised will go towards buying food for meals, clothes and essential toiletries. The organisation also accepts direct donations via its PayPal account or through clothing, but these must be practical like warm coats.
Fox added: “I started volunteering as a student and never left because it’s such a wonderful community and I’ve got so much out of the project.
“If everyone could just donate what they can – even if it’s just £1 – it’ll really help us to reach our target and continue to make a difference to those that need us in the city. If someone leaves us feeling that little bit better then it’s a success.”
Rise in homelessness
The crowdfunder comes after a report from Shelter has revealed the highest rise in homelessness in ten years, with the organisation criticising the chancellor for his lack of support for struggling families. In the last ten years, homelessness has increased by 74% with almost 100,000 households only living in temporary accommodation
Despite this, the recent budget has been criticised for freezing the housing benefit at 2020 levels and ignoring the crisis of rough sleeping.
Chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, said:
“The Chancellor could have put an end to homelessness, but instead he’s stuck his head in the sand. A massive growth in homelessness is surely not the type of growth the government wants, so why is it ignoring the crisis?”
Despite there being a number of homeless charities across Sheffield, The Sunday Centre is a key resource to people on a weekend by offering a warm and safe space for people to have a hot meal, pick up fresh toiletries and have access to clean clothes including underwear, but has had to start the fundraising campaign to secure its future.
This is especially necessary as the charity runs on donations from the public and community grants but can’t keep relying on successful applications especially as the competition for funding has grown.
Homelessness is a 24/7 condition
Fox said: “Homelessness is not an issue that only runs Monday to Friday from 9 to 5, so when most services are closed on a Sunday, it can have a devastating effect on those left hungry and on the streets.
“Sunday can be a long day to go without any food.”
The Sunday Centre also stresses the importance of putting its guests first to ensure they don’t feel judged. To do this, the charity doesn’t force anyone to engage in a service, and it’s fine for people to simply eat their meal and leave if they prefer. They also don’t require guests to fill out a registration form, so everything is kept private with no questions asked. Fox said:
“A lot of our guests aren’t used to having choices in their lives. So even just having us here on a Sunday where they can pick what flavour tea they want and how many sugars gives them some control in their lives when they don’t always have that option.
“The people we meet are all so lovely and it’s really important that they’re comfortable when visiting us and can come and go without any pressure. Just because someone is on the streets doesn’t mean they should be treated in a demeaning way – they’re people too.”
To donate to the Aviva fundraiser visit the link here
To find out about other ways to donate visit The Sunday Centre website here
To volunteer or learn more about the support offered by the charity contact them here