Organisers of the annual Julian House Christmas appeal are keen to remind the public that even though Christmas has gone, homelessness is still very much here. The campaign total stands at just over £146,000 – well short of the £160,000 target. With only 10 days to go there is concern that people will think that the need for support is over.
Traditionally the appeal has a flurry of gifts straight after the New Year as proceeds from events and carol services etc are sent to the charity but this year things have been a bit slower.
Cecil Weir has been running the campaign for the last 19 years and has seen various patterns of giving over that time – “The weather can have an impact. Media coverage too can be very influential. People’s lives are busy and if superficially they think that homelessness is just a winter problem then you can understand why they might not dig out that appeal leaflet that they’ve picked up or follow a prompt to Just Giving.
Julian House offers support for some of the most marginalised members of society – not just changing lives, but often saving them. The Manvers St hostel, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is often the starting point in their journey off the streets. From there we aim to place them in sustainable and appropriate accommodation as quickly as practical, either within our own resources or with a housing association or private landlord. Sometimes that takes a few months – sometimes much longer. That’s why the public’s support is vital all year round.”
Notwithstanding these challenging times, Cecil Weir is emphatic that Julian House will continue to keep its clients’ wellbeing at the centre of all they do – “We are always trying to achieve swifter outcomes for them, developing new services/accommodation options and chipping away at the prejudice which still exists towards homelessness in many areas of society.”
Donations to the campaign can be made on the Julian House Appeal page here or by posting a cheque to 55 New King St, Bath, BA1 2BN (payable to Julian House).