Outreach is a vital service that enables us to find people who are sleeping rough in Burton and across East Staffordshire. Rough sleepers tend to bed down late at night and then leave quite early in the morning to avoid being found or spotted. Our team go out early in the morning to try and engage with them, offer details of our support services and top them up with supplies if they need it.
Our outreach service has been running for six years now and is led by Brian, our Housing & outreach navigator. Brian and the volunteers regularly walk anywhere from 3 to 5 miles around Burton during their early morning sessions.
Julie is one of the volunteers and has been volunteering on Outreach for the past four years. She doesn’t mind the 4am wake ups and loves the team she works with. She values their friendship and says it makes doing something good for the community so much easier. She finds volunteering at YMCA rewarding and as its early mornings, it’s easy to fit around her other commitments, such as serving on the Development board for Lichfield Cathedral.
It would be a lot harder to run the Outreach service without our team of dedicated volunteers. This service was originally led by the late Sean Killion, and now with Brian leading the team, they have engaged with hundred’s of rough sleepers since the service began. Sometimes, a rough sleeper doesn’t want to engage initially, and it might take a few visits to develop trust. Other times they might just need the information and encouragement to start using our services.
We remember Paul, who was sleeping rough in Burton and was found outside the library early one morning. Paul had heard of the YMCA but didn’t know the types of services we offered in the community or how to access help. Paul came back to our main site Reconnect that morning, for some breakfast and eventually found a place to call home with us.
This highlights the important work the Outreach team do, and we are so grateful to our volunteers who help Brian change the lives of the vulnerable people who find themselves sleeping rough in Burton.
Photo of Julie, receiving a thank you certificate from Brian.