Exeter Charity’s Heartfelt Christmas Campaign Sheds Light on Homelessness Struggles

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In a poignant initiative, Exeter-based homelessness charity, St Petrock’s, has launched its 2023 Christmas fundraising appeal through a compelling short film delving into the emotional journey of homelessness.

Crafted by local filmmakers, All Told, the two-minute video introduces viewers to the stories of four individuals from the community who are actively rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness. Each narrative echoes the sentiment that St Petrock’s played a pivotal role in helping them regain their footing.

One of the participants, who grew up in the care system and endured eight years of homelessness, shares, “Watching people walking by with their children, I felt invisible and lonely.” St Petrock’s intervention provided the support needed, leading this individual to secure accommodation where they now reside with a loved one. Reflecting on the journey, they state, “I was just a lonely person in a lonely doorway. Then Petrock’s came along and lifted me up.”

Despite ongoing efforts, the number of individuals sleeping rough in Exeter has remained alarmingly high, doubling from the previous year. On any given night, between 25 and 35 people find themselves without shelter, with the homeless demographic constantly in flux as new individuals face homelessness each week.

The multifaceted causes of homelessness often trace back to childhood trauma or the breakdown of relationships. The loss of homelessness prevention services, coupled with the challenges posed by the cost of living and housing crises, has exacerbated the situation.

St Petrock’s is familiar with the pervasive issue of people living on the streets or in hidden places, such as garages, sheds, sofas, or cars. All those affected have had traumatic experiences in their lives that most of us thankfully will never experience, and it is that traumatic experience that lies at the root of rough sleeping.

The misconception of rough sleeping as a lifestyle choice is misleading. Homelessness is never a choice, and those forced into such circumstances endure extreme physical and mental hardships along with constant threats of abuse and assault.

St Petrock’s, established in December 1994, has been tirelessly providing support for the homeless. With a dedicated team supported by 30 volunteers, the charity facilitates access to housing, healthcare, benefits, and other essential services. Located in Cathedral Yard, the center offers hot showers, laundry facilities, phone and internet access, along with survival equipment and clothing.

Additionally, the charity serves breakfast and lunch to rough sleepers across the city on weekdays and plans to provide a full Christmas lunch to all clients on December 25, complete with gifts. St Petrock’s also provides accommodation for those without a home and actively seeks to acquire more properties for this purpose.

What makes St Petrock’s unique is its reliance on the local community for almost all its funding. This grassroots support ensures that the charity can continue its vital work in helping those experiencing homelessness.

The Christmas appeal aims to generate funds to sustain the charity’s efforts during what is traditionally a challenging time of year for rough sleepers. The festive season, often taken for granted by many, can magnify the severity of extreme poverty faced by those without a home. Moreover, it may trigger painful memories of past Christmases, adding to the emotional burden faced by those dealing with social isolation and loneliness.

This year, the demand for St Petrock’s support has reached unprecedented levels. As the charity navigates through the holiday season, it remains a beacon of hope for those struggling with homelessness, emphasizing that compassion and community support can make a significant difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of society.

Dawn Jackson
Dawn Jacksonhttps://newswriteups.com/
Journalist Dawn is an experienced business journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering stories that impact local communities, Dawn brings a unique perspective to her work. Through her insightful reporting, she keeps readers informed about the latest developments in various regions, shedding light on the economic landscape and entrepreneurial endeavours. Dawn's dedication to delivering accurate and engaging business news makes her a valuable asset to the News Write Ups team. dawn@newswriteups.com

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