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Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water*
Our patron, The Right Reverend Karen Gorham, successfully completed this 24k walk across 16 iconic London bridges in September, raising £1260 for Routes to Roots. “As Bishop of Sherborne in Dorset with an area of oversight which covers Poole I am proud to be Patron of Routes to Roots – a fantastic homeless charity making a real difference to the lives of those who find themselves homeless.
“Over the course of the day we walked into London ending at Southwark Bridge. Each bridge crossing reminded us of the bridges which need to be crossed to bring dignity and hope to the homeless.”

* Simon & Garfunkel
…When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down…

 
 
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At Poole’s annual Homeless Sunday Service on Sunday, 4 February, the Right Reverend Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne and Patron of Routes to Roots, expressed outrage at the introduction of the full PSPO, in particular the provision which prevents any homeless person from finding somewhere to sleep before midnight. Bishop Karen talked of how devastating, dangerous and isolating it is to be homeless: one in three homeless people will be a victim of violence and they have an average lifespan of just 47. The Revd Pat Southgate, chair of R2R, told the large congregation that Poole Council should be ashamed that it allows people who are ill and need care to be out at night and unable to bed down, even in a cold, damp and smelly car park, until after midnight.
On 1 February, despite opposition from all those involved in helping the homeless, Poole’s Public Spaces Protection Order came into effect. Poole Council refused to publish the results of the consultation before enacting the order and the policy has been implemented without being discussed at committee but following a decision by a delegated officer.

 
 
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Jenny and Pat featured on BBC TV’s South Today programme on 4 April and this feature has become the third most watched video online:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-dorset-43671269/the-dorset-chiropodist-healing-homeless-people-s-feet/

On the last Friday evening of 2017 Jenny Donovan, our long-term volunteer chiropodist, arrived at the drop-in and sat herself in a quiet corner to wash and tend to feet and fit new shoes. Jenny, a self-employed Chiropodist, has since 2009 been treating R2R clients at our evening drop-ins on the last Friday in every month. Sore feet are inevitable in our clients’ way of life and treatment a luxury that none could ever contemplate before Jenny joined our team of volunteers. Most have very damp or wet feet because their shoes are on all the time, and often they walk all day. In 2017 Jenny started to buy shoes herself to ensure that those sleeping rough had something waterproof and suitable for a hard day, and night, on the streets. Thanks to a grant from the Haddon Trust, R2R is now able to support Jenny financially with her purchases.