The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope
We began our mission to the disadvantaged in 2009 when a group of local Christians started providing an outreach ‘Soup Run’ service to homeless people in Leicester. But you don¹t need to be a Christian to get involved. Our
volunteers come from many backgrounds and faiths. We all have a common goal to help those who are on the street to move from despair to hope
Since then we have grown to the point where we now deliver four specialist services ourselves (we work in partnership to deliver another), alongside an expanded hot food service.
The Bridge is located in the Salvation Army building on Kildare Street Leicester. Leicester has 22% of the population living in income deprived households and we are based in a very deprived area of the City being in the second decile of deprivation (indices of multiple deprivation 2015)
Our clients are amongst the most marginalised people in the City and there is no other voluntary sector service in the city willing to work directly with some of the multi-disadvantaged and often challenging people we see every day. Some have been excluded from mainstream services or do not access them because they feel stigmatised.
Because we have so many volunteers (40), we are able to offer a ‘front line’ service at a minimal cost as well as providing opportunities for our volunteers to gain experience: one of our previous service users has gained employment thanks to his
Our work supports the aims of the Leicester Homelessness Strategy (2012), which stressed that:
- ‘A model needs to be developed to ensure homeless people can access opportunities to turn their lives around’
The work of The Bridge also fits closely with an expressed aims of the Leicester Adult Social Care Commissioning Strategy (2015) to:
- support people’s independence through ‘simple’ services rather than waiting until people hit a crisis point
Our overall long term strategic aim is to work with our partners to develop The Bridge into a ‘hub’ centre where local agencies can deliver their services in an accessible, welcoming and non-judgmental environment.