Bristol's Charity Partnership
This year in the Grant Thornton Bristol Office, we have partnered up with the Julian Trust Night Shelter. This Bristol based homelessness charity provides incredible support to vulnerable people and communities in our city. In late 2018, Bristol City Council reported 82 rough sleepers in the National Rough Sleeper Count, the fifth highest number nationally. This was a rise on the 74 recorded as sleeping rough in 2016, and 41 in 2014.
As an office, we wanted to make an impact. The Julian Trust’s aim is to provide basic first stage emergency accommodation to get people off the streets. They act as the first helping hand out of homelessness for vulnerable people. They also work closely with other agencies to assess and address long-term needs for housing, health care, employment training and addiction counselling where appropriate. The Julian Trust help provide a step in the right direction to help those in need. The Night Shelter has 18 beds and is open five nights every week throughout the year. On most nights it is used by between 80 to 100 guests who are served dinner from the food bank. These services are vital to the wellbeing of those in desperate need. The Trust is wholly staffed, managed and financed by volunteers and voluntary donations of food and funds. The understanding of the Julian Trust and what they do for our community has really motivated our office to engage with them. Over the past year we have held a tuck shop in our office, with proceeds donated to help finance the trusts increasing costs or caring for the vulnerable. We have also successfully joined up with other Grant Thornton offices in the south for a ‘tour de sud’. This was a sponsored bike ride covering 300 miles in only four days between 5 of our southern offices. The cycle raised a significant £1,500 for the Julian Trust, which is a truly tremendous effort from those taking part. The Julian Trust Night shelter currently costs around £1,500 per week to run (at £15 per bed space per night). Therefore, the proceeds of the ‘tour de sud’ will make a significant contribution to the running cost of the charity. Currently I am operating a foodbank on behalf of the Julian Trust in the Bristol office; where we are collecting various donations of items of which the Julian Trust have scarce resource. This will help to keep many members of our homeless community warm and fed over the winter period. This supports a vital service provided by the Julian Trust as many people on the streets are suffering from malnutrition and often have physical and/or metal ailments. The foodbank provision is renowned by many to impact the physical health of those in need. But it has also been found to aid mental wellness through the psychological benefits of eating together in a socially inclusive environment. We hope that our efforts to collect food will help the Julian Trust continue to provide this vital service.
In total, as an office we have raised £2,700 towards the Julian Trust this year. We are proud to be supporting the Julian Trust engage with significant levels of poverty within our city.
We are also going to be taking part in the Big Christmas dress up. This will be in aid of raise the Bristol Children’s Hospital as part of their Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal. As a children’s hospital, they look after the single largest geographical area compared to others in England. The support and help they provide to unwell children, reaches across the South West – providing both children and families with help when they need it most. We are proud to support this amazing appeal; and look forward to the best dressed competition for our team member with the most Christmas spirit!
By Jasmine Kemp