Banner image

Bears promote homeless services alongside Bristol City Council

Bristol Bears have partnered with Bristol City Council to promote the services on offer to those at risk of homelessness across the city.

The campaign aims to encourage people to take the first step of accepting support, as letters from people who have been homeless are popping up around the city, including Ashton Gate Stadium, in a bid to reach out to people in similar situations.

The letters aimed not only at rough sleepers, but those at risk of becoming homeless, include pleas from the authors to access help available from the council and other support services.

John said: “At 17 I started sleeping rough and was addicted to drugs. At that time all I had was my bedding, nothing else.

“There were a lot of services trying to help me, but at that point, I wasn’t ready. Thankfully people didn’t give up on me.

“After 13 years on the streets I tackled my addiction and got into supported housing. I am living proof that there is a different life for you. You just need to be ready to reach out and take it.”

In another letter Danni, aged 24, shares how an abusive childhood found her living in hostels and vulnerable. She says: “I eventually reached out for help. I’m in a much better place now and even have hopes and dreams for the future. I could have given up a number of times, but I’m still here, and I am still fighting.”

One of the key messages of the campaign is how important it is to get help early. Working with partners, the council offers a range of prevention services including a welfare rights and money advice service and a Youth Homelessness hub (Bristol Youth MAPS) to help young people to stay with their families where possible. These interventions stopped more than 3,600 people from becoming homeless in 2018.

In the same year organisations collectively helped more than 900 people who were homeless, via a range of support services including the successful St Anne’s Winter Night Shelter.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, has made tackling the issue of homelessness a top priority and is working with partners to continue reducing the number of rough sleepers by ensuring everyone has a safe place to sleep.

He said: “I would like to thank John, Lola and Danni for being brave enough to share their stories, and I hope it will encourage other people to take that first step towards getting help and turning their lives around.

“These three very different experiences help us to understand that there is no one size fits all solution. Homelessness is complex, and everyone’s individual circumstances are different. We are working with a wide range of partners to end homelessness in Bristol, but one of the most important messages I want people to take from this campaign is get help early.

“There is a lot of support and services available that could help keep you in your home, but the longer you leave it, the more difficult it becomes. If you are worried about your situation, or about someone close to you, please do reach out for help.”

In line with the challenge nationally, Bristol has seen an increase of people sleeping rough over the past five years and the last quarterly counts have found an average of 117 sleeping rough on the street.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet member for Housing said: “Homelessness is not restricted to the people we can see sleeping on the streets. We have families in temporary accommodation, individuals staying in hostels and many more people we don’t know about sofa surfing or sleeping in unsafe buildings.

“Ending homelessness in all its forms is one of our top priorities, and we want everyone to know that help is available.”

Think you or a friend or family member might be at risk of homelessness? It is vital to seek advice as soon as possible. It is much easier to get the help you need before you find yourself homeless. Visit https://www.bristol.gov.uk/homeless for more information.

Taking early action can avoid reaching crisis point. There is good advice and guidance available online: CAB, MA. There are also advice and support services available in Bristol: ACFA, ACORN and Relate.

To read Danni, Lola or John’s full story visit www.bristol.gov.uk/i-was-homeless


Latest News

Gallery: pre-season heating up in Bear Country

Gallery: pre-season heating up in Bear Country

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022

Win a tour of the HPC and a signed shirt!

Win a tour of the HPC and a signed shirt!

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022

Have your say on our matchday playlist!

Have your say on our matchday playlist!

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022

Surf's up! Squad visit The Wave

Surf's up! Squad visit The Wave

Posted: Monday, August 8th 2022

Also from Bristol Sport

🎙 Press conference: Nigel Pearson previews Coventry Cup clash
Football icon

🎙 Press conference: Nigel Pearson previews Coventry Cup clash

Nigel Pearson met the press ahead of City's Carabao Cup Round One clash again Coventry City on Wednesday (7:45pm).

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022 • Football

🎙 Press conference: Andi Weimann previews Coventry match-up
Football icon

🎙 Press conference: Andi Weimann previews Coventry match-up

Andi Weimann met the media ahead of City's Wednesday night Cup fixture against Coventry City (7:45pm).

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022 • Football

📝 Report: Barnsley Under-21s 2-3 Bristol City Under-21s
Football icon

📝 Report: Barnsley Under-21s 2-3 Bristol City Under-21s

The Young Robins started their Professional Development League 2 campaign with a 3-2 win away against Barnsley Under-21s.

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022 • Football

Thank you, Raphell Thomas-Edwards
Basketball icon

Thank you, Raphell Thomas-Edwards

Raphell Thomas-Edwards will depart Bristol Flyers this summer, following three years with the club.

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022 • Basketball

🔎 Preview: Barnsley Under-21s v City Under-21s
Football icon

🔎 Preview: Barnsley Under-21s v City Under-21s

City Under-21s kick-off their Professional Development League campaign when they travel to Oakwell to take on Barnsley Under-21s today (Tuesday, August 9th, 2pm).

Posted: Tuesday, August 9th 2022 • Football