The impact of austerity means we’re increasingly involved with the community our charity shop is based in. There’s been a big rise in the number of homeless people stopping by. Other providers of services for the homeless in Nottingham have stopped giving them sleeping bags. That means rough sleepers face an even tougher existence. On average people living on the streets die at 43. Their numbers are increasing. As well as sleeping bags, we give people warm dry clothes, shoes, and – just as important – conversation and compassion. Homelessness dehumanises us all…those on the streets and those who ignore them.
Zero hours contracts mean increasing numbers of people struggle to get by week to week. We support them however we can. Clothes for interviews that can help secure more regular work. Some are also parents, and having toys and books for their children can make a real difference.
One way the shop works is that some items are sold, others are given to people who we know can make use of them. We’ll often know who could make use of a decent blanket, a winter coat, a pair of football boots, and sometimes it’s easier to do that than sell them. It’s just as true that money can make a difference – in our shop, unlike many, we have the option to choose with you what would be the best use of the items you can give us.