Riverside Street Buddies is a peer-led outreach service, helping to get entrenched rough sleepers off the streets. Our volunteers, themselves former rough sleepers, are trained in dealing with substance misuse, mental health issues and professional boundaries.
Recent government figures showed a 14 percent increase during the year from 2013 to 2014 with the number of rough sleepers counted on the streets now at 2,744.
Armed with an extensive knowledge of the range of care services available through Riverside and its partner agencies, Street Buddies enable customers to take the first steps to re-engaging and moving away from entrenched rough sleeping. This unique set of training, skills and experience means our Street Buddies volunteers can reach and engage with entrenched rough sleepers in a way professionals can’t.
Who better to reach out to entrenched rough sleepers, than people who’ve themselves experienced first-hand rough sleeping and homelessness; and have turned their lives around?
Street Buddy Mariusz, began sleeping rough after his life spiralled out of control following the end of his marriage. He became addicted to drugs and stole to feed his habit.
In his words:
“Because we’ve all been there ourselves. We know how to relate to people on the street. I really do want to connect with these people and tell them there is an alternative.”