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Bristol Homeless Forum
BHF News - 8 January 2015



Bristol Nightstop

Bristol Nightstop was advised on 16th December that their bid for four years’ funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund was successful and a grant of £499,760 has been approved.

We are recruiting for a new Project Lead (as that post was covered temporarily by another staff member following the death of Charlie Skinner in 2014) and are making the required changes to the structure and governance which will be required for a funded and monitored scheme. The staff have been offered permanent contracts.

Bristol Soup Run Trust

The Soup Run continues to run every evening but was very quiet over Christmas when most people went for the evening meals at Caring at Christmas. Numbers are now back to the usual 100+ per night.

There were many offers of donations and new volunteers over Christmas and expanded storage has been taken out temporarily to house the donations until they can be given out.

Caring at Christmas

Caring at Christmas has successfully completed another Christmas season. Statistics are being collated and will be available for the next meeting.

Of some concern was the slow response from the emergency services: an ambulance took over an hour to arrive on Christmas Day and the police failed to respond to a 999 call on New Year’s Eve. Happily both matters were eventually resolved satisfactorily.

We continue to receive guests who require a high degree of personal care which is challenging for untrained volunteers. We had a sewing workshop for the first time which was a great success. The volunteer party is on Thursday 22nd January at 7.00 pm.

Caring in Bristol

CIB sadly reports the death of our longest standing Trustee, Roger Granger, on 22nd November 2014. Roger was a deeply compassionate person and devout Christian who contributed a particular amount to the Caring at Christmas shelter. A book of condolence is still open at the CIB office.

Churches Together in Clifton, Cotham & Redland

CTCCR are currently into the first week of the new year. We have done one handout and served about 40 people. Numbers were a little low but we believe that this may be due to the first weekend in Jan happening on the 3rd, just after New Years Day and some people may have been still using Christmas services or not aware that we were open. It was also quite a wet morning. Everyone was in good spirits however and we had some good conversations.

We are continuing to use the Bearpit for the time being as the talks continue in The Surrey Arms. I am meeting next week with Dougie Burnett who is the chair of CTCCR to update him on the developments from our last Bearpit meeting now the notes have been circulated and we will continue to develop our plans for the longer term in the next few weeks.

Jackie's Feed Program

Jackie's Feed Program was set up by Jackie in 2012 to serve the homeless community of Bristol by providing hot, nutritious and balanced meals "cooked with love". Food service takes place in the Bear Pit in the centre of Bristol every first and third Saturday of the month.

To make a donation or for more information contact Jackie Harvey -

Julian Trust

Not much to report: the handover to Caring at Christmas, and then the handover back from them, both happened successfully.

Life Recovery Group

LRG is planning to start its own training programme for our volunteers (and others). This is certainly not meant to be in competition with Helping Vulnerable People as it will approach a more limited range of topics from a more educational standpoint.

Our 6 topics will provisionally be:

  1. Understanding Addiction
  2. Relapse and Recovery (including the 12 Step approach)
  3. Mental Health Issues (including Self-Harm)
  4. Listening and Prayer Skills
  5. Boundaries, Attachments and Relationships
  6. Issues from Homelessness to Independent Living

We plan to run them bi-monthly, probably starting March. The core attendees will be LRG team / volunteers but we may attract a few from wider afield.

Strangers’ Friend Society

Funds remain available for distribution – up to £75 worth of goods per person to provide the necessities of daily living. Contact Lindsey Jones.

Survival Handbook

Supplies of the Handbook are still available for collection. An inset from the Bristol Drugs Project has been added.

The Matthew Tree Project

We have spent considerable time updating our website over the Christmas break so that it is up to date an reflective of the full scope of work we are currently doing. The website address is: www.the-matthew-tree-project.org where all the pages are now updated and reflect accurately the scope of the services now available through TMTP and its various outlets.

The most significant news is:

  • Funding from Bristol Green Capital received to enable TMTP to further develop the FOODTURES food growing, employment creation and skills training site at the 6.5 acre Rock site, Brislington.
  • Agreement has been reached with BCC to lease the 8.5 acre Vale Lane site off Hartcliffe Way, as our second food growing plot and where our FOODTURES education centre will be built.
  • Funding from Lloyds Foundation received to enable us to develop a tailored Social Impact Measurement & Evaluation System over the course of the next two years. Once developed this tailored system will be made freely available to partner and affiliated organisations who operate the TMTP unique model of poverty alleviation.
  • Funding received from three separate sources to enable the employment of an experienced Outreach Support Care (OSC) Coordinator and launch officially our unique Outreach Support Care service. Training is taking place now of 20 new recruits and the service will launch properly in February 2015. Recruitment is open now for the second wave of OSC volunteers and the next round of training starts in February 2015.
  • The Inns Court Centre charity and The Matthew Tree Project charity have agreed to a merger, with all assets and liabilities of the Inns Court Centre charity being taken on by TMTP and the Inns Court Centre charity to close. This means TMTP will assume management and responsibility for The Inns Court Centre; the Sprint Community Transport Service; and will be host to the Knowle West Children's Centre day nursery accommodating 48 two and three year olds, and two churches; the Church of God of Prophesy and Holy Cross C of E Church.

There are many other things going on but the above are the main developments.


Advert for Volunteers

There has been movement on creating a Voscur webpage to promote volunteering for homelessness organisations. From Richard Drake:

I had a quick chat with David and Voscur/Volunteering Bristol can create a new 'portal' page on their website giving information to potential volunteers about volunteering within the homelessness sector. The page would be a simple text based one following this sort of format: www.volunteerbristol.org.uk/volunteers/urgent giving links to our partner agencies with details of the sort of volunteering opportunities on offer.

I will be asking all the campaign partners for input (see my starter for 10 attached); this can easily be extended to all BCAN agencies as well. The plan is to start tweeting, emailing, facebooking links to this page in the New Year. We could print the page content for all who come to the C@C party (& possibly email all volunteers?).

Bear Pit Redevelopment

There are ongoing concerns about homeless people congregating in the Bear Pit due to the provision of free food there, and the negative impact this has on the public and the people trading there.

Notes are available from the two meetings which have been held at the Surry Vault to discuss these issues, on

Another meeting is scheduled for Monday 12 January 2015 - please note that this is later than the date in the meeting notes.

Digital Empowerment for Homeless People

Lemos&Crane have created a web site called 'SupportActionNet' (www.lemosandcrane.co.uk/supportactionnet) - "Long-term well-being and resilience for homeless people".

Homeless Forum

There is provisional agreement to the revised BCAN being accepted as an activity of the Churches Together in Greater Bristol. Paul has a meeting with the 'Enabling Group' on 21 January to discuss this further.

As before, If anyone is interested in contributing to the revised BCAN, please let Paul know.

Mayor’s Fund 2015

This year the mayor’s fund is targeted at the prevention of homelessness and all organisations involved in this type of work can apply to the fund. Please see via the link below the video that has been produced to promote the fund and its aims and objectives.

The Rucsac Project

The Rucsac Project distribution in Bristol took place on Saturday 15 November. Does anyone have any feedback on this?


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