Wednesday 6th September 2023
Report written by James Smith
Our visit to the BCDP on this hot summer's evening was lacking tall Peter, he was on his jollies, so tonight his grandson, Jack, was in charge. Arriving at Buckley Methodist Church we found Jack and two other volunteers prepping for the evening's visitors. GoodGym Barnsley helped with this preparation by making up flasks of hot chocolate and putting sandwiches in the bags of assorted food ready to distribute.
Our main task this evening was to visit various homeless camps around Barnsley. These were identified for us on a map by Jack. The main areas to check being some tents around the back of a church, a ledge outside some commercial buildings and the doorway of another church. We loaded up the flask of hot chocolate, cups and snap bags then set off to the first location on our list.
At the first location, behind a church, we found 2 tents. One of them looked as though it was being used but there was no-one around to give anything to. We have a policy of not leaving food at empty tents even if it looks as though it's being used. At this particular church they were having a meeting inside which we didn't want to disturb so they will have just seen heads bobbing along outside the windows.
Camping it up
At the second location we did find a man camped on a building's shelf. A chat was attempted but he doesn't speak English so this was difficult. By showing the bag of food in the familiarly branded livery he quickly understood who we were and what we were doing. During the attempted chat we were prompted to write something down for him. He spelled out the letters K I T A N G O, which I have since learned is a locality in Tanzania. He didn't want any hot chocolate and who can blame him on a such a sweltering evening.
At the third location there was no sign of anyone staying there.
We therefore headed back to Buckley to drop off the unused items and flask. They had had a fairly busy session but had managed it well, and hadn't had any trouble which is good!