Central Avenue in West Bridgford is starting to feel like it did pre-pandemic and as restrictions have eased, there is a noticeable increase in local residents and visitors to the area accessing shops, restaurants and bars.
The increase in numbers of people visiting Central Avenue has coincided with an increase in the number of people contacting local charity the Friary to make them aware of rough sleepers and other vulnerable individuals basing themselves on benches, outside shops etc.
Chief Executive Ben Talbot explains that homelessness leading to rough sleeping is still a real issue in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire as a whole.
‘Although there has been extra government and local authority intervention and support for rough sleepers during the pandemic, inevitably this cannot reach everyone.
‘Some are new to being homeless and others have been offered temporary or permanent accommodation but find it hard to cope there due to health problems, addictions and other challenges in their lives. This is where day centres such as the Friary provide practical, emotional and health support’.
‘We recognise that when a member of the public sees a vulnerable person in need, their first instinct is to help, but do not always know the best way to do this.
‘The best way to do this is to refer them to the Friary. We have been operating for over thirty years from our drop-in centre located next to the Friary Church and are available every day from Monday to Friday to support those in need.
‘We would encourage members of the public to point those in need in the direction of the Friary, as we are best placed to assess an individual and offer practical and/or emotional support. We can also signpost individuals to agencies that may be best placed to help secure appropriate accommodation’.
To help local people to do this, over the coming few weeks, permanent signs will be attached to lampposts in locations across Central Avenue.
The Friary hope this will make it easier for those who are chatting to a rough sleeper to be able to point them in the direction of the poster and raise awareness of the service that is offered by the charity.
Ben adds: ‘We hope that this gives members of the public confidence and assurance that there is support available in the local area for those in need and they can play their part by pointing them in the direction of the Friary.
‘As per the signs, the Friary can support with food, clothing and other practical items, as well as offering emotional support and advice services around welfare and benefits.
‘If anyone needs any further information or would like to understand more about the charity, do not hesitate to contact us via phone or e-mail or visit our website. www.the-friary.org.uk 0115 982 5448. Admin@the- friary.org.uk.