For just under one year I have volunteered on the local Street Source team. There is a small team of us who give up a few hours on a Saturday night to try to help the local revelers.
Street Source is connected with Riverside church in Sleaford and there are volunteers from other local churches. The main goal is to provide a safe place for night clubbers, homeless and anyone in need of help/ shelter to come and shelter within the Source café (This is not a place to sleep but to get warmth while we are open). The source café is located at the front of Riverside church.
We provide a free drink, tea or coffee and an open ear. In some cases someone might come in and just wait for a Taxi or friends to pick them up, they might be homeless and seek somewhere warm to stay and/ or seek advice.
Anyone who goes out on a Saturday night has good intentions but on occasions and not always through their own fault, people can find themselves in a predicament. We are there to help.
One thing that is worth noting is that we are not the police nor are we paramedics but that said, we will contact the appropriate authorities if needed.
The source is open from 22:30 and closes at 02:00 (10:30pm – 0200am) every Saturday. There can be the odd Saturday where no volunteers can come together and therefore we have to be shut. On occasions we might open on a busy night such as New Year ’s Eve.
The Source café being open is just one part of our role. Providing there are at least 4 volunteers on, we will take it in turns every hour to go out into the street and walk around Sleaford making sure people are ok. There is always 2 people at the café and 2 walking.
When we go out, we can be recognized by our fluorescent coats and cap which both state ‘Street Source’. One of us carry a shoulder bag which contain many items such as flip flops, water, vomit bags, foil blankets and more.
You might be surprised to know that the flip flops are our most popular item given out. They just do not make shoes to last these days and most weekends heels seem to break. Thankfully being male, I do not have this issue.
The general census with the public is a positive one. Party goers are generally pleased to see that someone is looking out for them. We can on occasions have some acts of hostility but that is normally from a distance and drink fueled.
The route taken includes a walk past popular pubs and clubs and we also check the train station as sometimes people wonder off for a sleep there and it is also shelter for anyone homeless.
It is not our role to judge. We all make mistakes in life and have faced many problems, all different but it is our duty to be there and listen regardless to anyone’s background.
Street source is supported by Christian nightlife initiatives – CNI. More information can be found here.
I will share more on Street source in the future and some of the events I have faced. Please appreciate that when I comment about anyone, names will be changed for their protection. I will also not go into anything personal about people’s characters or reveal details about what they shared with us. These articles are to simply share my experience and to educate anyone who does not know about Street source. I value privacy and therefore respect other people’s privacy!
Thank you for reading!