Like many urban areas, Bournemouth has seen a sharp rise in the number of people sleeping rough in recent years. Bournemouth Churches Alongside Rough Sleepers (BCARS) is offering a number of services to help people get off the streets, find accommodation and build their skills.
Every winter, churches like St George’s in Bournemouth open their premises to offer people living on the streets a safe place to sleep. St George’s is also involved in Half Time, a project that gives rough sleepers the chance to have a shower and use a washing machine and tumble dryer. Volunteers are on hand to offer support with housing, benefits and connecting with families once again.
The final piece of the jigsaw is 2nd HALF, a project that gives people a structured programme with work opportunities. Two days a week, people who have been living on the streets can come along and learn work skills in a newly-opened café.
The services are making a huge difference to the community and to St George’s itself. Members of the congregation actively hand out BCARS cards to rough sleepers, signposting where people can go to find help.