Raising awareness about homelessness

Spending a cold night under a plastic tarpaulin has helped Gavin Carter raise almost £300 for charity and learn a little about life on the streets.

Gavin was one of a hundred people who bedded down for the night outside Liverpool’s St James’ Cathedral as part of a fundraising event for the Whitechapel Centre, which is a leading homeless and housing charity that works with people who are sleeping rough, in hostels or in unstable accommodation.

Gavin is the head of service delivery at the Professional Services Centre (PSC) and took part in the event last Friday.

He said: “It’s a very strange feeling sleeping outside. I expected it to be cold and to have fitful sleep, but what struck me was there were a lot of passersby, people on a night out, and I felt very exposed.

“Some were drunk and shouted over at us. Nothing threatening happened, but it made me realise how vulnerable you are outside.

“It was noisy and really hard to shut it out and sleep. I was paranoid someone might fall into my shelter and it was hard to relax when you know people are all around you.”

Gavin wanted to join the event because of the work the PSC does in supporting people on probation.

The organisation provides a range of functions to Interserve’s Community Rehabilitation Companies, including working on the information provided by the partner organisations delivering the Through the Gate service for offenders preparing for release from custody into the community.

Gavin said: “I’m immensely proud that probation works with some people for whom stable accommodation is hard to achieve, and that our job helps supports them.

“I’ve wanted to experience it firsthand and do more than just donate to charity, so I found out about the event Whitechapel organise and it struck a chord.

“Whenever you walk in a city centre you cannot fail but to be moved by the number of homeless people struggling in very difficult conditions.”

PSC staff gather information collated by TTG providers via the Basic Custody Screening Tool.

Gavin added: “We find out when people have accommodation problems and ensure probation case managers know that.

“It’s not always possible to solve an individual’s housing problems, but probation provides all the support and assistance it can.

“Having stable accommodation is one of the key elements to helping some people stop re-offending.”

To sponsor Gavin, please visit: https://liverpoolsleepout2017.everydayhero.com/uk/liverpool-sleepout