At Caring in Bristol we regularly reflect on our work to ensure that what we do is needed and effective. Our Caring at Christmas project, a key aspect of our winter work, is a huge and complex operation involving specialist staff and over 450 volunteers. The hard work of creating a day centre and home deliveries for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness over Christmas Week is over for another year. We’ve now had time to look at how it went. A snapshot of this is presented in our impact report.
You can download the impact report using the link at the bottom of this page. It contains statistics that help to illustrate the scale of the operations, and includes the voices of our guests. They spoke to our researcher who was finding out in detail what difference the project made to them, and what was important to them. This will help us to create an even better experience for our guests next time, ensuring that our work keeps in step with their needs.
This time we learnt most of those facing homelessness who used the day centre have difficulties finding good quality food, and had few family/friends to meet. It was effective at fulfilling these two needs during the Christmas period. We also found that those sleeping rough mostly focused on food (hot meals and pantry goods), warmth, and crisis services e.g., medical attention, or short-term housing. Those in more precarious accommodation were mostly focused on food (pantry goods), entertainment (movies), healthcare/ wellbeing (GP, St John, Haircut, massage), housing, and employment. Having this more detailed understanding of our different guests means that we know that the project provided useful and meaningful resources, and gives us a head start on planning what’s needed for next year.
Working with FareShare South West meant that we were able to set up a food pantry, something that we previously learnt was needed. This development was not only good for our guests, but good for the environment. The report sets out the different types of foods that were diverted from waste, shifting over 5 tonnes into the hands of people who need it most. Other statistics, such as the 1440 restaurant-quality meals cooked for our guests, help to tell the story of some of the many ways in which Caring at Christmas attended to the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our city.
To read how your support helps make a difference to people lives at Christmas click here: Christmas Impact_Report_2022