A team of social entrepreneurs are helping homeless people find refuge by converting Somerset storage units into living spaces. As well as providing the homeless with shelter, warmth and companionship, the initiative will provide inhabitants with a space for safe personal storage.
A number of old, unwanted storage units in Somerset will provide Bristol’s homeless with accommodation for up to a year as part of the social enterprise, Help Bristol’s Homeless. The registered charity was set up by Jasper Thompson, an Army veteran and restaurateur, in 2017.
The issue of homelessness is a big concern in Bristol, with a growing number of people ending up on the streets due to limitations in services available to combat the issue. The lack of permanent emergency support centres and the infrequency in essential supplies has been addressed to a certain degree over the last year.
Help Bristol’s Homeless continues to supply further support for those in need of it and Your Store Bridgwater are delighted to bring you news on their latest venture. Each unit inhabitant will be referred following an assessment, before being supplied with any help they might require.
Two Somerset storage units have been converted so far, courtesy of property company Colliers International. Each of the units have been given a stylish transformation and are now fitted out with a kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedroom.
There are several other Bristol organisations involved in the enterprise, including Barratt Homes, EDF Energy and Balfour Beatty. The relatively young Help Bristol’s Homeless social enterprise has gained real traction since its inception and now has over 30 sponsors, from SMEs to large national organisations such as Burges Salmon.
Help Bristol’s Homeless founder hopes the project will provide the homeless with life skills as well as a clean, warm place to live. Citing the need to teach or re-teach rough sleepers skills to help them succeed in a business environment, Thompson said, as reported by Bristol Live: “The most important thing is that the homeless people who are here are the ones leading the project. They are given opportunities to develop skills by helping in the conversion of the containers into homes.
“It’s about everyone working together, learning trades and people pulling each other up. We’re registering as a social enterprise, we’d love to see this work and roll more places out there. We’ve shown what can be done with a bit of energy and support. ‘We are so grateful to all of the businesses involved in this project, which are helping to improve the lives of rough sleepers.”
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