Since moving back to Glasgow from London, after being away for almost ten years, the visible increase in the number of people sleeping rough struck me. I’m aware that rough sleeping is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of the problems we have with homelessness in Glasgow, with many other people’s homelessness being hidden away. These are people like you or I, who for one reason or another, have found themselves living in temporary accommodation, or found themselves ‘sofa surfing’. I can only think that finding yourself homeless and/or sleeping rough is often a more tenable prospect than whatever awful situation has driven someone out of their own home.
What I think is amazing about the Big Issue Foundation, is that the charity supports people to get their lives working again off their own back through really practical means – the strapline being ‘a hand up, not a hand out’. The Big Issue magazine, and other activities which support people to get out of poverty and exclusion, tackle the root causes of the issue, not just the symptoms. I have read stories on their website that talk about supporting people to attend critical housing appointments, to get fit to join the army, to buy kitchen basics in order to be able to cook for themselves and to maintain their own tenancies – the foundation gives practical support for people to get back on their own two feet.
I’m proud to be joining the #BigStepChallenge. I’ll be ditching the bus to walk to work and back again each day, making sure I get a good walk round my neighbourhood in the evenings and weekends too. As I’m walking around my neighbourhood and around my city, I’m going to pay special attention to see how many people are sleeping rough, and to consider the amount of people that are homeless but that I can’t see. I’m going to consider the various situations that have driven people out of their homes and into the streets, or have driven them into temporary B&Bs, or to the sofa of a ‘friend of a friend’ that they barely know. This small act of fundraising for me is only one way in which I am going to support the Big Issue Foundation this year to ensure that ten years on, the city I live in has reduced the number of people who find themselves homeless or in severe poverty, instead of the situation we find ourselves in today where poverty, homelessness and exclusion has clearly been increased.
It’s not too late to join Kieran and sign up to the Big Step Challenge! Click here to sign up today.