This month the RJS Waste Management team has chosen to support the homeless and vulnerable people of Chichester. We bought 20 £5 Greggs gift cards that The Four Streets Project will distribute to those in need over the coming weeks.
The Four Streets Project’s valuable work
Helping the homeless and vulnerably housed of Chichester every night since 2017; The Four Streets Project provides immediate practical support. Understanding that the route to living on the streets can be complex, The Four Street’s founder Donna Ockenden runs a group of local volunteers that help without judgement or agenda.
Support from The Four Streets includes providing the following basics:
- Food and drink
- Blankets and sleeping bags
They also spread the word about the other local support available to the homeless and vulnerably housed, such as the Chichester Hub run by Stone Pillow and the meal clubs at St Pancras Church. And it seems the future holds a new base for the meal clubs at the larger St Paul’s Church.
Supporting Chichester’s homeless during a pandemic
However, the need to socially distance during the pandemic has made the communal meal clubs difficult to run. Instead, there’s a daily takeaway lunch club where the Four Streets vouchers are given out. This means that people in need can collect a Greggs gift card from the Chichester Hub and use it to buy their own food and drink just around the corner in North Street.
The voucher scheme has had a positive impact and donations make a huge difference to the charity, says Donna Ockenden:
“The Four Street Project currently pays for all food that we distribute so local support from businesses, such as RJS Waste, is much appreciated. It means we can keep doing what we’re doing.
“The voucher system’s working really well. Not only are we getting feedback that the voucher recipients like having the independence of choice that the vouchers bring but also that they like the option to spread their food and hot drinks throughout the day in this cold, damp weather”.
Undeniably, January during a pandemic is a difficult time for all but Chichester’s homeless have cold dark nights, lack of income and much more to contend with. Many are also struggling with isolation and the need to keep safe, whether they live on the streets or in other vulnerable circumstances.
RJS Waste Management’s Operations Manager, Jon Gotham, was keen to support this local cause as his wife is a volunteer for The Four Streets and has seen the local suffering first-hand. He comments:
“Polly has volunteered in the evenings for just under two years and in that time has seen local homelessness increase. It’s saddening to see the same faces with nowhere to go but it’s a comfort to know The Four Streets are doing what they can.
“Having spoken with Donna, we’ve seen how much difference the Greggs vouchers make to the charity and the people they help. RJS Waste Management is keen to continue supporting the charity going forward as much as we can”.
You too can help Chichester’s homeless
With The Four Streets helping 5-14 people in the West Sussex capital every night, any support that local businesses or individuals can offer is of great value.
Donna continues: “It’s a difficult time but any help offered is hugely appreciated. We’re always in need of vouchers but we’re also looking for sponsorship of larger items like sleeping bags.
“COVID-19 means we can only accept new items, in their original packaging, and there’s a wish list on our website that features everything from thermos flasks to tents. Do check out our social media platforms for our latest news and wish lists too.”
You can see The Four Street Project’s Amazon wish list here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/32LS3W0CCO4XI
Find them on Twitter here: TheFourStreetsProject (@FourStreetsChi) / Twitter
Find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/fourstreetsproject
Find them on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/fourstreetschi/