We have reached our fundraising target of £60,000! This means we can now purchase a brand-new vehicle to give rough sleepers and people experiencing homelessness access to healthcare and other support services through a mobile drop-in clinic.
Our HealthBus Team have needed a new vehicle since the first COVID-19 lockdown when they found that the hired bus they were using was unsuitable for face-to-face contact. Patients who live on the street are particularly vulnerable to catching and spreading the virus as it is so difficult for them to maintain hygiene, practice social distancing, self-isolate or receive treatment when needed.
In late spring the ‘Get Back on the Road’ fundraising campaign was launched so that a nw vehicle could be purchased and built to our team’s specifications. Thanks to generous donations, ingenious fundraising and grants, we have now ordered our own purpose-built vehicle.
‘Run for the Bus’, a virtual run held over the August bank holiday, was a highlight of the campaign. Organisers were delighted that HealthBus patient Maxi, who lived on the streets for several years, was one of the participants. He completed a 5k circuit with Dr Maggie Kirk, GP, Medical Director of the charity and founder of the service along with St Mungo’s and BCP support workers and the Homeless Healthcare Nurse.
Asha, a young recording artist, also contributed to the fundraising with proceeds from her single ‘Invisible’ going to the cause. It is available on Spotify https://spoti.fi/39H6Iob and you can watch the video on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=350490235956110&t=63.
There are many reasons why rough sleepers and the homeless have difficulty accessing healthcare. A mobile clinic is essential for treating this marginalised group at the point of need, whether they are living on the streets or in emergency accommodation.
As well as providing basic healthcare and specialist GP services, our team work in partnership and cooperation with other service providers, such as addiction and mental health specialists, to help people to find the support they need to move on in life. More recently during the COVID pandemic, BCP Council and the CCG have contributed emergency funding which has supported the service.
One rough sleeper, Wayne, explained: “People at the HealthBus really care. For the first time in over 30 years I feel hopeful about the future and where I am going and what I am doing. The HealthBus gives me the chance to rebuild my life.”
To make a donation to help with the costs of insurance, equipment and running the new HealthBus vehicle, please visit https://www.paypal.com/gb/fundraiser/charity/3882316. Thank you.