Help for rough sleepers
by Wirin Bhatiani
I have been conscious for a while that the people of Bolton have concerns about rough sleeping in our town.
Especially as we approach Winter, I think people’s concerns are heightened as no one wants to contemplate making a bed outside on the street.
It’s timely, therefore, that the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, announced recently that his A Bed Every Night scheme has helped to reduce the number of rough sleepers in Bolton and is being extended to June 2020.
The scheme works with all 10 local authorities and other agencies to provide a comfy bed, warm welcome and appropriate support for anyone who is sleeping rough and cannot access other accommodation.
Health-wise, you are more likely to suffer with problems if you are homeless or sleeping rough and there are various services in Bolton which help people in this situation, including outreach teams and GP practices offering specific help.
In addition, there are things we can all do as a community to help people who find themselves in this situation.
Many of us associate rough sleeping with begging but the two aren’t always linked, and if approached for money in the street then it can make people feel uncomfortable.
If you wish to help rough sleepers you can donate to the A Bed Every Night scheme, either with money, by volunteering or buying useful items – like toiletries, food or clothes.
The aim is to provide long-lasting support in a co-ordinated way rather than giving money directly to those affected.
There are lots of local support groups already working in Bolton with this goal in mind, and you can find out more via their website.
If you’re worried about someone you’ve seen on the street, you can register your concern via Street Link.