Volunteers needed to help caseworkers care for Sidmouth’s homeless

Homeless. Picture: Getty Images

Homeless. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A call has been made for volunteers to come forward to help care for the homeless in Sidmouth.

Gateway, a homelessness action group based in the Sid Valley Mission Community, is now in its fifth year and has had a ‘remarkable’ record of success helping those living rough.

However, the charity is now looking for people to help their caseworkers look after the homeless.

Richard Bartlett, of Gateway, said that, during the coronavirus pandemic, some have been helped off the streets by the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ programme but the end of that scheme has seen some become homeless again.

He said: “Some who have been helped off the streets in Devon have been accommodated in Exeter during this period but, with the ending of the programme, many will find themselves again looking for assistance with accommodation, healthcare, employment or simply a friendly word to help them on their way.

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“Compounding this already difficult prospect are other problems made more daunting by the ‘lockdown’ – for those escaping domestic abuse, suffering family breakdown or suddenly experiencing unemployment are also finding themselves in urgent need of shelter and support.”

Mr Bartlett paid tribute to the commitment of voluntary caseworkers and their working relationships with East Devon District Council, Beacon Surgery, Mustard Seed Café, the foodbank and police.

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He added: “Without them, help for some of the most unfortunate in our society wouldn’t be available in the Sid Valley and Gateway would cease to function – the consequences of which are easy to imagine; more tragedies and lives lost, of the kind that led to the very formation of the group.

“Our caseworkers, however, now need more support to be able to continue this work – volunteers who would be prepared to give their time flexibly to assist them and to work alongside them.”

No experience of social work is necessary, although a public service background would be an advantage, but a willingness to listen and to learn first-hand how to help the vulnerable is desired.

Anyone who would like to help should ring Mr Bartlett on 07970 203712.

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