Tag Archives: Drop-ins

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We are continuing to run indoor drop-ins on weekday lunchtimes and are seeing anything from 8 to 16 clients each day. In June EDAS (Essential Drugs and Alcohol Services) re-started their outreach operation with us and we are looking forward to the re-start of more services in the coming weeks. St Mungo’s reports that they have 184 people in emergency accommodation in the BCP area and that thankfully the Council has no plans to end this provision. During this current crisis they have been able to move literally hundreds into long-term accommodation.

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From Wednesday 1 July R2R will re-open its drop-ins at Skinner Street URC to offer take-away food for rough sleepers only. With the Council’s emergency accommodation provision coming to an end and more rough sleepers being found on the streets, we believe re-starting this provision is vital. We plan to open between 1.30pm and 2.30pm every weekday. At this stage, we cannot allow clients inside the hall, in line with current rules governing cafes, so the toilets and shower will remain closed.

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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.

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A lovely thing happened at the drop-in on the last Friday of 2017. 28 guys and girls came in from the freezing cold and were able to enjoy hot chicken curry and jasmine rice courtesy of Koh Thai. The ladies from Koh Thai laid the tables and served the food, offering our clients a complete dining experience which they felt was easily equal to that enjoyed by the clientele in this boutique tapas restaurant in Lilliput High Street Poole. Crackers were pulled and jokes were shared: it was a really happy party atmosphere.


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Rough sleepers

From September Routes to Roots will be able to offer several important new outreach services to its clients in Poole through its regular drop-ins at Skinner Street URC.

From the 7th September, Poole Addictions Community Team (PACT) will be offering a service on a fortnightly basis at the Monday afternoon drop-in. PACT will be providing information on Blood Borne Viruses and offering testing, vaccinations and delivering a confidential Harm Minimisation service i.e. needle exchange and advice. PACT hopes to include visits from their specialist alcohol nurses in the near future. PACT is keen to support easier access into services for clients.

From 17th September Poole Citizens Advice will be attending R2R Thursday afternoon drop-ins to engage with clients to inform them about the wide range of areas in which CAB may be able to help, such as benefit applications, housing, debt, family matters. Clients who need specific advice and help will be able to make an appointment to see a CAB Adviser in the R2R office.

The charity is also working together with Healthwatch Dorset, the local consumer champion for health and care, to improve health (particularly emergency) provision for homeless people, including free NHS check-ups through the Tooth Bus mobile dental service. Their first visit is set for Monday 9 November during the drop-in and throughout the afternoon.

Gabi Sanger-Stevens, responsible for management services, comments: “We know our clients experience problems getting access to GP surgeries, making health appointments, contacting dentists etc. without a phone or easy access to the internet. Many GPs won’t accept bookings face to face. So, we have found that people have had to wait for the Routes to Roots’ office to open so they can use our phone – by which time that day’s appointments are all booked up. It is also hard for someone who is homeless to build up the courage to go into a busy GP surgery, as they feel as if they are being judged: then to be sent away and told to make an appointment by phone can be very upsetting.

“We also know that engaging with services such as the CAB and PACT in their offices can be daunting – it is not easy to keep appointments when you have a chaotic life of rough sleeping or making ends meet. We really appreciate the support of these organisations in bringing these vital services to our clients at a place where they feel safe and can easily make use of them. It will positively affect their general wellbeing as well as contributing to their ability to move back into society.”