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Let’s Pedal for Scotland!

Join Team Simon Community for a great day out!

This year Simon Community Scotland are participating in this fabulous event. We’d love you to join us! Read on for more details.

What is it?

A cycle ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh. It’s not a race. We’ll be doing it as a team – it should be a great day out together!

When?

Sunday, 10th September 2017

Who can enter?

  • Anyone who has access to a bicycle and is up for the 45 mile cycle.
  • Team Simon Community is open to service users, staff and anyone who’d like to join us!
  • Standard places cost £38 + £20 for transport (for you and your bike) back to Glasgow at the end of the day.
  • There are free places for people who use our services and staff supporting their participation.

How to register

  • Free places: contact Linda Clark at hello@SimonScotland.org
  • Standard Places: register directly with Pedal for Scotland http://pedalforscotland.org/ and select to join “Team Simon Community” (part of the Classic Challenge Gold). More details about registering below.

Why we’re joining Scotland’s biggest bike event!

Cycling is fun and has plenty other benefits! Over the past few years we’ve been encouraging staff and services users to ‘get into cycling’.

We have a number of initiatives to support the wellbeing of our staff and service users including: the build-a-bike scheme, getting bikes in all our services and various cycle-training days. These are some of the practical ways we can support the recovery of people affected by homelessness.

Please join us on the 10th September to celebrate and build on this great work!

Join Team Simon Community and enjoy the buzz and support of participating in the ‘Pedal for Scotland’ event

  • It is a great personal challenge and opportunity for us as individuals.
  • It’s also an opportunity to help to raise the profile of the Simon Community and the important work we do in supporting people who’ve experienced tough times.
  • Some participants may even want to use this event as an opportunity to raise money for our Nightstop Service. (If you’d like to do this, please contact us for more information)

What people have said about the event

“For those who cycle regularly, or for those who just fancy a fun challenge, you can’t do better than riding your bike between Glasgow and Edinburgh with amazing cake stops along the way!”

– JENNIE COOK, DES AND JENNIE SHOW PRESENTER, CAPITAL FM

“I really look forward to Pedal for Scotland each year and taking on the Classic Challenge ride so I can spend the day chatting to people and enjoying the great atmosphere……. Pedal for Scotland is a wonderful, sociable day on the bike for me.”

– MARK BEAUMONT, ROUND THE WORLD CYCLIST

“It was Pedal for Scotland that inspired me to start cycling. I’ve been doing Pedal for Scotland since 2009, when I hadn’t been on a bike for over 18 years and I thought ‘I can do that!’ So I bought a bike and started cycling again. My best memory is crossing the line for the first time in 2009, it was a great feeling and accomplishment on what I set out to do. I really enjoyed every mile.”

– ARFAN MOHAMMED

More stories here: http://pedalforscotland.org/testimonials/

Got any questions?

Contact Linda Clark (our Organising Guru) hello@SimonScotland.org. If you’re keen and committed – go ahead and register using the details below.

Book your place today

  • Standard places are booked via the Pedal for Scotland website, selecting “Team Simon Community” within the Classic Challenge Gold. See details below.
  • Free places – available for people who use Simon Community services and supporting staff – can be booked by contacting Linda Clark. Email: hello@SimonScotland.org for details.

Booking a standard team place:

  • Go to: http://pedalforscotland.org/
  • Choose ‘book now’ for the Classic Challenge Gold.
  • Register as a ‘Gold Challenge Team Entrant’ (£38), fill in your details and join the “Team Simon Community”.
  • You’ll need to provide details of an “emergency contact” (e.g. a friend or family member, colleague etc).
  • Our team will be leaving in the 8 – 8.30am ‘wave’. Team Simon Community will be meeting at our Head Office (472 Ballater Street, Glasgow G5 0QW) at 7am. At around 7.30am we will go across to the start line on Glasgow Green – so that we can all start the ride together.
  • Select the £20 extra for transport (for you and your bike) back to Glasgow.
  • We will be providing all Team Simon Community with a Team T-shirt for the event, this is in addition to the T Shirt Pedal for Scotland will send you.
  • You can also use this event as an opportunity to fundraise for the Simon Community. Contact Linda Clark (hello@SimonScotland.org) if you’d like more details about this.

Media Release: Confidence building cycling course for Simon Community Scotland

Media Release 15th June 2017

 

People supported by Glasgow-based homeless charity, Simon Community Scotland, were given a skills and confidence boost by taking part in an Essential Cycling Skills course from Cycling Scotland today.

Ten people who receive support from Simon Community Scotland took part in the course at the Charity’s Ballater Street centre in Glasgow.

Many of those taking part in the Essential Cycling Skills course will go on to take part in Pedal for Scotland’s 45 mile Classic Challenge from Glasgow to Edinburgh on 10th September 2017.

William Wright from Cycling Scotland, said, “The Essential Cycling Skills course is for adults who are new to cycling, or who haven’t ridden a bike for a long time. As well as covering many of the technical and safety aspects of riding a bike, the course also serves to boost confidence and self-esteem of those who take part – something that can benefit everyone across many areas of life. Going on to take part in Pedal for Scotland is a great achievement for anyone, and we’re delighted Simon Community Scotland have entered a team to take part in the Classic Gold Challenge on 10 September.”

Hugh Hill, Director of Services and Development at Simon Community Scotland, said, “There’s nothing good about being homeless. It’s particularly bad for your physical and mental health and has an average life expectancy of almost half that of the general population. Cycling on the other hand is proven to improve your health and your wellbeing which is why at Simon Community Scotland we’ve been promoting cycling within the homeless community and with our staff.  It’s good for your health, your happiness, your purse and the environment! What’s not to like?”

Entry for Pedal for Scotland on 10th September is now open. An adult place on the Classic Challenge is £28 (£19 concession), while the Big Belter is priced at £48 per adult. Enter online at www.pedalforscotland.org.
– ENDS –

 For further information please contact:

William Wright, Cycling Scotland

0141 229 5350 / 07795 048042

williamwright@cycling.scot

NOTES TO EDITORS:

 Pedal for Scotland

  1. Pedal for Scotland is organised by Cycling Scotland, the lead organisation for cycling promotion in Scotland. Cycling Scotland is the national cycle training, promotion, events and engineering organisation for Scotland. With grant funding from Transport Scotland we are working to establish cycling as an acceptable, attractive and practical lifestyle option.

www.cycling.scot.

Cycling Scotland is a recognised Scottish Charity no. SC 029760

  1. Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government’s vision for transport.

www.transport.gov.scot

  1. Pedal for Scotland was established in 1999 as a way to encourage more people to cycle. Cycling 50 miles in a day demonstrates the considerable distances it is possible to achieve by bike, and encourages people to leave the car at home for short journeys.
    1. Pedal for Scotland event is delivered in partnership with eight local authorities and support services such as Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and the St Andrews Ambulance Association.

    pedalforscotland.org/

Simon Community Scotland
Founded in 1966, Simon Community Scotland is a charity that works to combat the causes and effects of homelessness. Its vision is that everyone should have a safe place to live and access to the support they need.

It operates a ‘street team’ from premises near Glasgow’s High Street. It also provides accommodation, including emergency accommodation in 12 locations across Glasgow, in North Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire.

Its ‘street team’ sees around 150 people on the streets of Glasgow every month, with up to 40 new cases each month.

It is estimated that people who are long-term rough sleeping have a life expectancy of 47 (age 43 specifically for women). Rough sleepers are 13 times more likely than the general public to experience violence, 47 times more likely to be the victim of theft and three times more likely to have been a victim of a road traffic accident. One in ten rough sleepers are estimated to have been a victim of sexual violence within the previous 12 months.

Simon Community Scotland has entered a team in the Pedal for Scotland event. Anyone can join “Team Simon Community” when booking their place to enter this event.

Visit www.simonscotland.org @SimonCommScot

Telephone: 0141 418 6980. Its street team can be contacted on freephone: 0800 027 7466.

STV Children’s Appeal

STV Children’s Appeal is the official charity partner of Pedal for Scotland. The STV Children’s Appeal is committed to helping children and young people affected by poverty in Scotland. The money raised by the STV Children’s Appeal helps make a real difference in the lives of Scotland’s children and young people by providing practical help like food and warm clothes; creating opportunities for training and employability; and enabling social and emotional support for those who need it most.

In its first six years the Appeal has raised over £13.7 million. This has allowed us to make 722 big and small awards to projects across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland, providing much needed support to over 62,000 children.

The charity was launched in 2011 by The Hunter Foundation and STV.  In 2013, The Wood Foundation pledged its support to the Appeal for projects in the North East.

Every single penny raised by the STV Children’s Appeal stays in Scotland and 100% of donations are spent on the children who need it most, as all overheads are met by STV and The Hunter Foundation. In 2015, the Scottish Government once again committed to match fund the first £1m raised.

www.stv.tv/appeal/

STV Appeal SCIO SC042429

Funding boost helps secure successful approach towards eradicating homelessness in Glasgow

AN already successful approach towards eradicating rough sleeping on the streets of Glasgow has been awarded a grant of over £400,000 to help maintain its work.

The City Ambition Network (CAN) – a partnership involving key, city centre homelessness charities and statutory services – has received £430,000 to expand an existing project with its next target being to reach 70 of Glasgow’s most vulnerable people.

The initiative recognises that many rough sleepers will often remain on the streets even when shelter is available.

Therefore, it provides not just access to immediate accommodation, but also support, care and health responses with the aim of putting the homelessness person more in control of their future.

The funding has come from the USA-based philanthropy organisation, Oak Foundation.

CAN was set up two years ago, to work with people who were entrenched in a cycle of homelessness, substance use and mental health problems.

It operates as collaboration between Simon Community Scotland, Glasgow City Mission, The Marie Trust and the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership.

Says Lorraine McGrath, chief executive at Simon Community Scotland: “By working together across the city, staff from our different agencies are able to support people into safe and secure accommodation.

“Service users being supported by CAN tell us they have a really strong sense of being cared for in ways they have not experienced for a long time for many this has helped them break their in and out of rough sleeping.”

It is estimated that, each year, over 1,000 people sleep rough, for varying periods of time, on the streets of Glasgow.

Added Grant Campbell, chief executive, Glasgow City Mission: “The complexities behind the phenomenon that is rough sleeping are often overlooked. If it was an easy fix it would have happened by now.

“What the City Ambition Network has been able to achieve might appear small to the casual observer, but to those in the homelessness sector, the joined-up ‘never let go’ approach to individuals dealing with chaotic lifestyles has been powerful.”

Says Simon Community Scotland, the grant will provide much-needed new staff and a research team to help connect with Glasgow’s most vulnerable homeless who need a consistent and intensive approach.

One of the people CAN is currently working with is Karen. Her needs extend beyond simply a roof over her head.

Begins McGrath: “Karen had a traumatic upbringing which followed her into adulthood. Her life was chaotic and she often slept rough in Glasgow and placed herself in very dangerous situations.

“Key workers in the CAN worked closely with Karen, over six months, helping her into a home that she felt safe in.

“A home was just the start for Karen, getting treatment for her mental health, support with her alcohol use and maintaining her belief in herself took a lot of time and expertise.

“Karen has been in her home for five months, the longest period off the streets in ten years.

“Karen’s story is not unique. Many of the people we support have very real trauma in their lives. A roof over Karen’s head will help towards her find safety, but she also requires compassion, understanding and other forms of support.”

Adds McGrath: “Over the next three years, the grant from the Oak Foundation will be invested in helping people like Karen find peace of mind, safety, a secure place to live.

“We’re obviously delighted with the support from the Oak Foundation and excited about supporting our most vulnerable in society, to find a safe place to stay and the support they need to rebuild their lives.”

In Glasgow, the Simon Community Scotland ‘Street Team’ works with around 150 rough sleepers every month, with up to 40 new cases each month.

Eric Steel, head of Homelessness at Glasgow City Council, said: “The CAN initiative is an innovative and inspiring approach to tackling the very real challenges people face and Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership is pleased to be working in partnership with the voluntary sector in improving outcomes for our most vulnerable citizens.”

McGrath continued: “Rough sleeping is bad for your physical and mental health, it’s unsafe, it’s risky and it’s scary. The average life expectancy of a rough sleeper is 47, almost half that of the rest of the population.”

For more information on the City Ambition Network, visit www.simonscotland.org.

Simon Community Says Thanks to Rangers After £17,000 Donation to Help Glasgow’s Homeless

THE Rangers Charity Foundation have handed over more than £17,000 to the Simon Community to help Glasgow’s homeless.

 

Light Blues fans took part in ‘Big Sleep Out’ events at Ibrox in November to raise cash that was split between the Foundation, the Simon Community and the Glasgow City Mission.

The funds will be put towards the ‘Nightstop’ project, which targets 16 to 25-year-olds who are in danger of sleeping rough and offers the support this vulnerable group needs to move forward in a positive direction.

Glasgow has the highest concentration of young people who are homeless in Scotland and Simon Community Chief Executive Lorraine McGrath is delighted to be in partnership with the Gers.

She said: “It means a huge amount to us to have the backing of the Rangers Charity Foundation and it gives us an opportunity we ordinarily wouldn’t have to reach out to people.

“It is a 365 day of the year challenge. January can be a tough month because people will be coming out of the Christmas period and the goodwill can run out in January. Quite often it is this month that we see a spike in numbers.

“Extra funding is always great but awareness is even better and we want people to understand what homelessness is and how it affects people.

“It is not just rough sleeping. It is people in temporary accommodation, people in unsafe and insecure situations and there are tens of thousands of them across Scotland.

“The reasons that people fall into homelessness are very complex and varied and it is about getting people to understand that and to know how and when to seek help.

“The biggest reason is relationship breakdown and then come all the complexities with that, including addiction issues and the challenges that they face.

“It is very traumatic and it really harms your health. The average age of someone who is homeless is 44 and we need to do all we can to help people.”

Striker Kenny Miller joined volunteers on Monday to meet a handful of the 2000 people that the charity supports each year.

The 37-year-old spent time posing for photographs and answering questions and was happy to help raise awareness.

He said: “The Rangers Charity Foundation do some great work with a number of worthy causes and have a number of partnerships.

“The ‘Big Sleep Outs’ are a big earner in terms of the fundraising. I have been at one and it was a cold night so all credit to the fans that braved the conditions.

“It is always nice to come along and help the Charity Foundation when I can, particularly for a really good cause like this.

“It is great to come along and help, meet people and recognise the work that the charity and the Foundation are doing.

“There are some great people doing some really important work and I am always happy to do my bit.”

Rucksack & Handbag Appeal 2016

In the weeks leading up to the appeal it was a whirlwind of activity and we had a short window to get plans in place. Everyone was super keen to make this happen, so with an all hands on deck and team spirit approach our plans came to fruition. As donations and offers of support flooded in, the anticipation for the day began to mount, we waited with baited breath…………… and Wow !!

Overwhelming Support

What can we say, you didn’t let us down! Staff, Partners, people we support , willing members of the public and local business ,the response was overwhelming.

Figures are still being counted as we speak, but we can say at this stage in excess of 1200 Rucksack and Handbag donations were received and over 130 volunteers turned out to help on the day, not to mention those who helped in the lead up. The feedback from you all has been wonderful and most said not only did they feel they had spent a day doing something really worthwhile for a great cause but actually had a great time too.

Friends of Simon Community 

From Volunteer Drivers, Donation station hosts, sorting and prepping volunteers, Friends of Simon Community volunteers , Volunteer Community Groups, the support was immense and has got us all extremely excited for the forthcoming launch of our Simon Community Scotland Volunteer programme in the new year. (Keep your eyes peeled on updates on our volunteer page for more info on how to get involved)

Your generous donations are already making a difference in the lives of the people we support and we are working hard to get as many items distributed to the folk who need it this side of the year.

Keep in touch

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter @SimonCommScot for regular updates on how we are doing.

Plans are already in the making to make next year’s appeal day even bigger and we promise we won’t run out of soup!

Our Thanks 

Everyone here at Simon Community Scotland, staff and the people we support would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all who contributed, without your incredible help it just would not be possible! Please keep in touch! And we look forward to seeing you all again next year if not before.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for continuing to support us in combatting the cause and effects of homelessness.

On The Streets of Our City

Homelessness can happen to anyone, and I mean anyone, and at this time of year, when the temperatures fall below freezing it’s really heart rending to think that so many people are sleeping out on our streets.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Simon Community’s Street Outreach service on Wednesday to see at first hand some of the issues homeless people are facing and also the range of support and real compassion shown by the Simon Community’s staff.

I meet up with Donna Finlayson and Brian Roberts at the Simon Community Hub on London Road to get a quick briefing about the Street Outreach RSVP (Rough Sleepers and Vulnerable Person’s) Service they provide before heading out to join them on their route around the city centre.  Brian is one of the key workers providing the RSVP service and quickly showed how knowledgeable he is about homelessness and the issues people are facing.  Brian makes a point of doing his best to get to know people and make sure that they know what services are available – whether that’s in a hour’s time when they can call someone to bring them a warm sleeping bag to an agreed place, to tomorrow, when support can be giving to make an application for accommodation, provide advice or arrange to see a Dr.

The first person we met had just been told that no accommodation was available for him in the city that night.  That means that he would have to be out on the streets.  A recent relationship breakdown and longer term issues from the past have made this young man isolated and homeless and Brian did his best to offer support to someone who was very clearly despondent and frustrated at his situation.  Brian gave him the number to call for the sleeping bag service later that night and said that he would aim to follow up and support him with his attempt to gain some at least temporary accommodation via the local authority.

After crossing the river and in an area a stone’s through from bustling Argyle Street, Brian took me to see a place where quite a number of rough sleepers will seek shelter for the night.  Through a dark car park and behind the cladding of a large building was a narrow open space with a small concrete platform area stretching back into the pitch black.  The whole place was filled by litter and filth but it is sheltered from the worst that Glasgow weather can bring and offer relative safety from the open street.  It’s pretty desperate to be calling such a place “shelter” and “safety” but that’s the shocking reality.

Before continuing on the street patrol with Brian and Donna we made a flying visit to our friends at Glasgow City Mission whose staff and volunteers were getting things ready for the evening drop in service which provides a hot evening meal five nights a week to people affected by homelessness.  In fact this service will be benefitting from the funds raised by the Rangers Charity Foundation’s recent Big Ibrox Sleep Out event.  At least 80 people were expected to turn up that night for some hot food and a safe environment for a couple of hours where friendly volunteers can ensure that everyone is made to feel welcome and has the opportunity to speak to someone.

We set out on a criss cross route from Argyle Street to Sauchiehall Street via Buchanan Street and parts of the Merchant City and met around 15 people either begging or trying to keep warm in their sleeping bags in unused shop doorways.  There was a real range of people and the issues they are facing.  Brian said that many had severe mental health issues, including one who had tried to jump off a bridge over the Clyde just two weeks ago.  Another had been released from a secure mental health ward and then found themselves immediately homeless and on the streets again.  A number of the young people we met were also using heroin and begging to help feed this habit.  I asked Brian if it was good to give money to people begging in the city centre and he said he tried to keep an open mind and that it was up to the individual what they decided to do.  Clearly some people are begging to maintain their drug addiction and giving money can only help sustain this.  It’s not only money you can give though, a few minutes friendly conversation may be the only time that day that someone has taken the time to speak to someone who is homeless, an offer to buy some food might be very welcome or a warm hat or pair of gloves to someone who clearly has none.  It’s a personal choice whether to stop and engage with someone who asks for money or even when they don’t.  Tonight’s experience has certainly made me feel that I will stop and chat with someone more often and see if there is something I can buy to brighten their day in some way.

Not everyone wants help.  We met two men who had been sleeping rough for months.  They had their spot outside a disused shop and they showed no inclination to actively seek the support that might lead to a longer term accommodation solution.  No one could describe their situation as comfortable but in Brian’s line of work, everyone has to be respected, everyone has different issues that lead them to being homeless and the main thing is to keep gently offering support and services, and respecting people as individuals.

After two hours we started heading back to the Simon Community’s Hub.  On the way, Brian stopped to chat to a young man and provide some clean needles to him to help keep him safe, at least in the short term, from the transfer of disease from shared/dirty needle use.  We also met a woman who had previously been homeless and now had some secure accommodation and who was out on a freezing night like this in an area known for prostitution.  Brian explained to me that there are a number of support services available for this woman and that he hoped that sometime in the future this may be a positive option and choice to help her.

Safely back at the Hub I thanked Brian for allowing me to join him on his normal Street Outreach patrol of the city centre.  I was really impressed by the Simon Community’s work and the by the compassion and professionalism shown by their staff.  My insight to homelessness on a freezing cold November night in Glasgow was just a few hours long, but long enough to make me consider homelessness in a fresh light, to hopefully encourage me to stop to chat to someone much more often and to definitely feel confident that the Rangers Charity Foundation is doing something profoundly worthwhile in supporting the Simon Community.

Media Release: Sunday Herald Christmas Appeal for Simon Community Scotland

Media Release 27th November 16

LIFE on the street it brutal. And short. The average life expectancy of someone living there is just 44. Rough sleeping kills people. Seeing people sleeping in a doorway or down a lane is the most common image of homelessness – but it takes many forms. It might be rough sleeping, but it might, equally, be sleeping on a friend’s sofa, with nothing immediately on the horizon, when it comes to a place to call home. The issues are headline-grabbing and the statistics horrifying. A homeless person is 13 times more likely to experience violence, 47 times more likely to be the victim of theft and three times more likely to have been a victim of a road traffic accident. For the full article please follow this link: http://bit.ly/2gfo0A9

Glasgow Bike Station becomes a Friend of the Street Team

Greg Chauvet Managing Director of the Glasgow Bike Station met with our CEO today to register their commitment to helping vulnerable people in the city by becoming a Friend of the Street Team.

The scheme asks businesses, shops and organisations to support the efforts of our Street Team by sharing information on the work of the Simon Community, raising awareness of the help that’s available and having contact cards and details onsite for customers who may be concerned about someone but not sure how to help.

Our Street Team work 24/7 supporting rough sleeper and people who are homeless to find somewhere safe off the Street and can be contacted on 0800 027 7466.

The Glasgow Bike Station first came in to being in 2010 at the Barras in Glasgow. Founder and Social Entrepreneur of the year 2105, Greg Chauvet, left a corporate business world (and the French Rivera), disillusioned by the greed and poor treatment of employees to set up a social enterprise that was connected, was fair and looked after people – not only staff and volunteers, but the health and wellbeing of everyone who takes to cycling.

It was his own experience of learning to cycle as an adult and the negative reactions he encountered in Glasgow that prompted him to do something about supporting cycling.

Today the Bike Station goes from strength to strength and as well as selling and refurbishing second hand bikes the Bike Station also delivers multiple socially inspired programmes to teach, train, promote and introduce cycling to Glaswegians.

Trusty Paws dog clinic

Trusty Paws is a monthly drop in service in the Hub for any person experiencing homelessness who has a dog.


At the drop-in clinic, anyone experiencing homelessness can bring their dog to be checked over, they can get appropriate advice and their dog can receive vaccinations.

In addition to this, the owner of the dog can build up a relationship with the student vets and the Simon Community Staff at the drop-in. This may open up opportunities for providing additional support and help to access relevant services.

It’s great to be working with the folk from Trusty Paws Clinic to offer this service!

If you’d like more info, give our team at the Hub a ring on 0141 552 4164 or you could call 0800 027 7466 (Free from landlines).

To visit the Hub: 72 London Rd, Glasgow G1 5NP