Rather than send Christmas gifts this year, we’ve decided to make a donation to The Simon Community. This is a homeless charity that works to alleviate the isolation of people sleeping rough, provide a place where they can gain a sense of belonging and foster the skills they need to move towards independent living. They are involved in most aspects of the homeless community such as providing a street cafe at the weekends and daily tea and coffee runs as well as providing a winter shelter.
Street Work involves walking along the streets of London at night, usually after 9pm. The volunteers go out to offer a cup of tea or coffee and a sandwich, and spend some time with and talk to people, representing Simon and the philosophy of acceptance, tolerance, and understanding. They aim to develop supportive relationships with those who are vulnerable and isolated. Meeting people for the first time is a chance to build a rapport with them and to try to understand their needs. The majority of homeless people are isolated, at best they are ignored, and at worst they are abused. To have a conversation with those who have been socially excluded is to see them as fellow human beings. It is a start to building trust where there is an expectation of fear and disapproval, and where prejudice and discrimination are faced every day.