During this morning’s assembly Seniors heard from Mr Barry Griffiths, Community Engagement Officer for Jimmy’s Cambridge, a community-based charity providing both support and housing to people who are rough sleeping.
The organisation began as a small shelter on East Road, and grew into a 24-hour service that provides housing to those who need it through 25 rooms, 10 supported houses and 26 modular homes. They also offer several different additional forms of practical support to help individuals on their journey toward independent living.
Mr Griffiths, who himself spent a period of time sleeping rough, spoke to the pupils about the factors that might contribute to homelessness; including the breakdown of family relationships, addiction, domestic violence, mental illness and more. The issue of homelessness extends beyond those who are sleeping rough, and also includes those who have been displaced from their homes and are depending on friends or other temporary housing.
Jimmy’s provides 10,000 cooked meals each year to those they support; meals that provide opportunities for the staff to hear individual stories and experiences, and to build trust among a population who otherwise might have difficulty opening up to others.
Heritage families can support the work of Jimmy’s by bringing in non-perishable food items or other household items into school over the next week. But, as Mr Griffith encouraged the pupils to remember, even more important than the items being donated are the thoughts and goodwill behind them toward those who are struggling.