Housing minister backs winter campaign to help homeless people ‘Stay Warm, Stay Safe’
A homelessness charity is asking the Scottish public to help its staff and volunteers save lives this winter, by looking out for the symptoms of hypothermia in rough sleepers and people on the street.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart MSP has thrown his support behind Simon Community Scotland and Streetwork’s ‘Stay Warm Stay Safe’ campaign - attending a launch event at Edinburgh Waverley today to distribute booklets detailing the signs of hypothermia to commuters.
The charity hopes that highlighting the effects and communicating positive actions on how to prevent the onset of hypothermia this winter will enable members of the public to protect our most vulnerable and at risk groups of people to stay warm and stay safe. Ultimately, prompting the public to call the Glasgow and Edinburgh freephone numbers, where trained expert practitioners will be deployed immediately to assist individuals the public have concerns about.
As temperatures plummet, the public will be encouraged to save the charity’s freephone number in their contacts, and alert its street team as soon as possible if they see a homeless person who is - shivering, has cold or pale skin, is slurring their speech, is breathing fast, or appears tired or confused.
The freephone numbers are:
A pocket size guide detailing the symptoms of hypothermia - produced thanks to the kind support of Scottish adventure holiday specialist, Macs Adventure - will also be carried by on duty Police Scotland officers and British Transport Police.
Fraser MacRae from Macs Adventure, whose staff raised £2,000 to deliver the campaign, said: “Here at Macs Adventure we focus our charity work on helping our local community. Winters in Glasgow are severe and we wanted to find a way to help people who have to sleep on the streets we walk through every day.
“Working with the outstanding Simon Scotland means that we can focus our fundraising to provide hypothermia kits to stop the harsh reality of people freezing to death on the streets of Glasgow.
“It is important for us as a company to make sure that we focus on the impact that we can make, rather than be purely driven by profit.”
Lorraine McGrath, chief executive at Streetwork and Simon Community Scotland, added: “Knowing how to prevent hypothermia is an important message for all vulnerable groups, however people who are homeless or on the streets are most at risk. It is our hope that this campaign will help everyone look after themselves, and encourage them to contact our freephone numbers in Edinburgh and Glasgow if they have concerns about an individual. We will always respond immediately to get people off the street and keep them warm and safe.”