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POOLE FOOD BANK is struggling to meet the increased demand for food at this challenging time. Following recent discussions with the Food Bank, Routes to Roots has decided to donate to them all the money we would have spent on food for our drop-ins, if we had been able to remain open, over the last few weeks. At a time when we are unable to feed the hungry ourselves, we feel it is vital that we help our partner agencies, who are still able to get food to those in need, including many of our vulnerably housed clients. We welcome this opportunity to be able to give something back, to help the Food Bank feed those, who may only be a step away from being homeless themselves. 

Over the years, so many of you have helped us with your donations of food. During this crisis we ask that you help the Food Bank who would welcome tinned meat, potatoes, rice pudding and fruit, long grain rice, pasta sauce, coffee, UHT milk. 

Any donations can be dropped at the Food Bank, Longfleet URC, Longfleet Rd, (next to the petrol station), on weekdays, 9.30 am – 12 noon. 

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Routes to Roots is pleased to let you know that BCP Council’s rough sleeper outreach team, St Mungo’s, has sourced temporary accommodation for Poole’s rough sleepers. Food will be provided, along with medical support and three times daily contact from a BCPSOS worker to check on wellbeing, etc. With effect from Wednesday 25 March, R2R will, therefore, temporarily close our drop-ins. We are confident that our clients will be in good hands over this period and this is the safest way forward for all of us.

A big thank you to our two staff members and all our many volunteers for making it possible to go on providing food for so long. We will not be idle but take this time to continue work on our project to renovate our new building on Hill Street, so that at the end of all this we will have our Place for Change for the Homeless in Poole.

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Routes to Roots will keep its five drop-ins open to help rough sleepers for as long as is possible. In order to prioritise the help that we can offer, we will be open only to rough sleepers from Friday 20th March onwards. We realise this may leave those of our clients who are vulnerably housed, although not on the streets, at a disadvantage but with the potential of fewer volunteers available, this was a compromise that had to be made.  

With immediate effect, lunchtime drop-in hours will be from 12.30pm until 2.30pm – subject to review depending upon volunteers and national and local guidance. Clients will be able to eat in the hall as normal. Showers will still be available while the launderette is open to wash the towels.  

From Friday 20th March, evening drop-ins will provide takeaway food only, although the toilets will be available. 

The exact procedure to follow if a client appears to be showing symptoms of COVID-19 is still being finalised across the local authority area. BCP Council has made a property available for rough sleepers who are affected by the virus.  

We provide rough sleepers with vouchers to enable them to have breakfast at The Spire community café on Poole High Street. The café states that it will remain open as long as possible and we are giving out extra breakfast vouchers and will continue this provision beyond April – as long as the Spire can provide the breakfast.

R2R is part of an online meetings group of relevant agencies, including Faithworks, BCP Council, St. Mungo’s, to ensure we keep abreast of all developments.