Looking for Change campaign supports former homeless man back into education
A campaign to help rough sleepers has raised more than £2,000 and is already supporting a former homeless man back into education.
The Looking for Change initiative encourages people to donate to the homeless through the Bury Drop In charity rather than giving cash to individuals on the street.
The donated money is available as grants to those who have been rough sleeping, received support for addiction issues and are ready to move on from temporary accommodation.
The first person to benefit will be former rough sleeper Steve (not his real name) and the campaign will help pay for a laptop so he can gain qualifications to start work.
David Bonnett, a founder of Bury Drop In, said: “Steve was homeless and rough sleeping for many years. He had his demons to overcome from his childhood and had moved on from taking cannabis to injecting heroin.
“He found himself surrounded by users, vulnerable and easily led on.
“He was desperate for a hostel place and made the conscious decision to kick the drugs which is a battle in itself, but he had a support worker who believed in him more than he believed in himself, and spurred him on to achieving objectives to help him rebuild his life.
“Now he has a place to live and genuine friends who care about him.
“He is studying for a qualification – he has ambition and above all else he has hope – and through the generous public donations to Looking For Change we are able to support him towards his goals.”
Steve added: “Today I have got a good life. I attend a drop in service and they have helped me in so many ways.”
The campaign is supported by West Suffolk councils, the Bury Free Press, Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District, Bury St Edmunds Town Council and Suffolk Police.
Run by volunteers, Bury Drop In is open every Tuesday and Friday from 11am to 2pm at Trinity Methodict Church, in Brentgovel Street. It provides food and a warm drink and works with other agencies to help rough sleepers.
A rough sleeper support team, set up by West Suffolk councils, reduced the number of people sleeping rough in West Suffolk from 37 in September to 10 in February.
To donate, text WROO36 £(amount) to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/burydropin