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The High Sherriff of Dorset, GeorgeStreatfeild visited our future permanent support facility for Poole’s homeless in October.

We were delighted to play host to Dorset High Sherriff, George Streatfeild and his wife Amanda, showing them the transformation of the former Baptist Church. Mr and Mrs Streatfeild were given a tour of the building where the project’s architect Ken Mason and project manager, R2R Trustee, Kate Mellor talked through the charity’s ambitious plans for the listed building. 

As reigning High Sherriff for Dorset, Mr Streatfeild was made aware of the support that Routes to Roots provides to Poole’s homeless by our Patron, The Right Reverend Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne and was eager to witness first-hand what was happening at the new facility and learn about the charity’s future ambitions.

“It is awe-inspiring and quite humbling to hear Pat’s passion and her determination to transform a rundown building into somewhere safe, warm and welcoming to so many who are struggling in today’s society – and not just because of Covid-19,” said Mr Streatfeild. “She has created an amazing team of volunteers to support her vision and make sure it happens; I cannot wait to see the completed work.”

 
 
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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.