We’ve encountered unprecedented challenges and successes in our first year as a registered charity! Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve not only faced unforeseen challenges in providing our mobile drop-in clinic for rough sleepers in the Bournemouth area, but also successful outcomes.
Our team began providing healthcare and specialist GP services for people living on the streets and in emergency hotel accommodation in 2016. Our charity status was accepted in early December 2019.
When the pandemic struck earlier this year, however, our team found that the vehicle they were using was no longer suitable. We therefore had to suspend operations and started raising funds for a new purpose-built mobile clinic.
We continued to provide a lifeline for hundreds of homeless people during lockdown as one of many teams that came together to work with rough sleepers. Over 350 people have been offered a roof over their head as a result of this cooperation.
Dr Maggie Kirk, Medical Director of the HealthBus Trust, said “All the teams showed amazing energy and commitment. This gave people the support they needed to start addressing issues in their lives which have held them back for months, years or even decades.”
Dr Kirk believes that homelessness is likely to rise as the economic fall-out from the pandemic takes effect. A mobile clinic is essential because it enables healthcare to reach people at the point of need.
We also help people find the support they need to move on in life by working in partnership and cooperation with other service providers, such as addiction and mental health specialists.
One highlight of our first year as a charity was a visit from Luke Hall MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, as well as Sir Ed Davy MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats. Both commended our work.
‘Run for the Bus’ a virtual run was held in the summer to raise funds for a new mobile clinic. Members of the local community of all ages took part, including a HealthBus patient.
“We’re very grateful to our many generous supporters for enabling the continuation of the service. Our hope for the future is that adequate healthcare appropriate for the needs of rough sleepers will be fully sustainable” said Dr Kirk.