Homelessness charity issues plea for sleeping bags

Moray Hunter
Moray Hunter

Over 500 sleeping bags are being sought by a Scots homelessness charity as part of a wider appeal urging the general public to donate rucksacks and handbags full of essential items, such as food, clothes and toiletries.

Simon Community Scotland is hoping its Rucksack and Handbag Appeal will become an annual event, as it seeks to provide practical solutions for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

This first Rucksack and Handbag Appeal by the charity - which, in September, marked its 50th anniversary - has set a donations day of December 4, encouraging members of the public to drop off items at one of two Glasgow venues.

The items will be distributed in time for Christmas. Operating now in Glasgow (where it was initially based), North Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire, the charity has produced a promotional video, starring the comedian, writer and actor, Moray Hunter.

A team of volunteers is already primed to accept donations and, last week they were guests of one of Glasgow’s coolest restaurants, Section 33, where diners helped to get the appeal started.

Moray Hunter said: “Sometimes, I can’t face taking the dog out for a walk when the weather’s a bit rough, so I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be out there all the time.

“Please help those living on the streets by supporting the Simon Community Rucksack and Handbag Appeal.”

Simon Community Scotland delivers around 170,000 hours of support every year and engages with up to 3,000 people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. It also operates eight residential facilities.

In Glasgow alone, its ‘Street Team’ works with around 150 rough sleepers every month, with up to 40 new cases each month.

Hugh Hill, director of Services at Simon Community Scotland, added: “Rough sleeping is bad for your physical and mental health, it’s unsafe, it’s risky and it’s scary.

“With winter beginning to bite, it just gets worse. We need donations and support.”

Donations day, December 4, is being held at a warehouse on 24 Rosyth Road, Shawfield, the space donated by Robert Morris, of Morris Furniture. Donations are being collected between 10am and 4pm.

There is an additional venue, near the Simon Community Scotland HQ and open between 12pm and 4pm: The Barn Youth Centre, 37 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals (the space donated by Crossroads Youth & Community Association).

For more details of the types of items being sought by the Rucksack and Handbag Appeal, visit www.simonscotland.org.

Image by Euan Robertson

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