The Filling Station has been supporting the homeless, every week, on the streets of Swindon since 1993, but since March has had to suspend its operations due to the Covid 19 risk to both clients and volunteers.
The Filling Station had hoped to restart its service on Thursday 3rd September, but this has been delayed because of the continuing Covid situation in Swindon.
Trustee Angus Macpherson said: “Whilst Swindon is an area of “enhanced support” it would be irresponsible to encourage this vulnerable section of society to meet together. We will review the situation each week and re-start as soon as it is safe both for clients and volunteers.
“Whilst our town has this status, the Local Authority, who have responsibility for Public Health, should be ensuring that those in need continue to be supported.”
During the height of the pandemic homeless people were accommodated by the Council in hotel accommodation. Many have now been found more permanent accommodation, but the challenges still exist.
Angus said: “It is wonderful that some people have been found accommodation, the challenge now is for them to be supported in maintaining those tenancies. A home is a firm foundation, but that tenancy will be lost easily if support from Drug, Alcohol & Mental Health agencies is not in place to support those individuals.”
The Filling Station works closely with two other registered charities in the town, Threshold Housing Link and (Salvation Army) Booth House .
Angus added: “Homelessness is not solved by accommodation alone. Many clients we see have complex needs built up over many years, and it is essential that their issues are addressed by more than the simple intervention of provision of accommodation or food. The support needs to “wrap around” and be given for as long as the recovery takes.”
The Filling Station usually meets the homeless every Thursday evening where they receive food, bedding and clothing as needed, as well as the opportunity to speak with outreach workers from Threshold Housing with a view to ensuring they can access accommodation before the weekend.