The Cathedral Archer Project has been running in Sheffield since 1989. What started as tea and toast served by members of the Cathedral congregation has developed and expanded into a holistic service designed to help homeless people to improve their lives. SheffGives spoke to Tracy Viner from the Archer Project to find out more about the work they do in the city.
For those who are not familiar with the Cathedral Archer Project, please give us an overview of the amazing work that you do.
The Cathedral Archer Project works with homeless adults from sleeping bag to employment and a fulfilling enjoyable life. This includes hot meals, access to showers, laundry and medical support (a doctor, nurse and dentist visit regularly). The aim of our work is to build self-esteem and confidence whilst supporting people into accommodation, and making life style changes. We do this through making the centre a place that is warm, safe and welcoming and offering 1 to 1 support, joining activities and opportunities to get involved in the project delivery through volunteering. We work closely with other agencies to give the best support available to each individual. As people progress, they will have a development plan and hopefully be working towards stable and long term accommodation with a fulfilling and enjoyable life, and where appropriate, employment.
How much of an issue is homelessness in Sheffield, and are numbers on the increase?
Homelessness is an issue in Sheffield but not as much as some of the other major cities. There is an annual count and it is looking as if the figure for 2017 will show an increase. However, many of the people visible on the streets are not without accommodation, so visually the numbers look worse than the actual figures. We don’t have the report for this year yet so I haven’t any actual numbers to give you. We see between 70-90 people a day but these are part of the homeless community, so may be in hostels, making progress or some of them rough sleeping.
‘Silent Night, Lonely Night’ is your Christmas campaign this year – tell us a little about the campaign, and what you are hoping to achieve.
The Christmas Campaign is to highlight that every night is lonely if you are on the streets, when you have reached the level of homelessness we are working with, you have no support network, friends, etc. It is very lonely and isolating. We are also wanting to show that with support people can move away from homelessness and have successful, fulfilling lives which we are showing through our case studies as the campaign continues. We are hoping to raise awareness of our work and to raise money to support it.
To donate £5, please text XCAP17 £5 to 70070, or donate online at the link above
How can SheffGives followers get involved and lend their support, both to your Christmas campaign, and in the longer term?
Ideally, we need donations from the SheffGives followers to support the Christmas Campaign. If they can also promote it amongst their networks, that would be fantastic. In the longer term, it would be fantastic if people wanted to donate, organise an event to raise funds, volunteer (there are a variety of opportunities from weekdays in the project to being part of our volunteer fundraising committee) or donate items in kind. Details of all these options are on our website.
And finally, what is the best thing about working for the Archer Project?
This is a really hard question but the answer is the people – there is such a wide range of people at different stages in their journeys and progress and it is a privilege to see how they grow and develop. It is also a privilege to work with my hard working colleagues who really make a difference to people’s lives.
*Photographs courtesy of Cathedral Archer Project