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.”