As Christmas approaches, rough sleepers in the Bournemouth area are receiving bags of treats and necessities. The goodie bags are being handed out to those attending HealthBus clinics.

The idea for Bags of Hope comes from Reg Chapman, a retired naval chef and one of our volunteers. He was given some sweet treats to hand out to HealthBus patients but knew that they were in great need of facemasks and hand gel, as well as everyday items such as tissues and toiletries which most people have around the house.

With the recent drop in temperatures, Reg also wanted to provide warm socks, gloves and hats. Intending to provide 30 Bags of Hope, Reg has been able to make 50!

He and the HealthBus team are grateful to the members of The King’s Church Ringwood, Poulner Baptist Church and Alderholt Chapel who generously donated the items. Any surplus bags will go to St Mungo’s, the charity which provides an outreach service to people living on the streets.

Without a permanent home, it can be difficult to access healthcare for many reasons. The HealthBus team offer specialist GP and medical services at the point of need. They work in partnership with other services providers, such as addiction and mental health specialists, to help people find the support they need to move on in life.

One rough sleeper, Dean, said of the HealthBus service: “No one sets out to be purposefully on the streets.  Sometimes you face situations which just leave you broken and desperate. After lots of encouragement from visiting health professionals, I have found hope and compassion from those involved with the HealthBus.

“This service is a lifeline!” he added, “A much-needed refuge for those who are vulnerable. The staff and team involved with the HealthBus have saved and are saving lives.”

If you’d like to make a donation to support our work, please visit the Donate page.