Thanks to YOU – our wonderfully generous supporters, we were able to provide support for 143 people during January. Throughout the month they visited the Centre more than 1000 times to get a hot meal, use our showers, collect clean clothes, use our laundry facilities, and get advice and guidance from our team. Our Support Workers and Caseworkers provide help with many different things – in addition to using the core services above, the top 5 areas we help people with are:
- Sourcing food supplies (signposting to other charities that offer free food)
- Finding suitable emergency accommodation
- Maintaining a tenancy
- Paying bills and managing debt
- Accessing other services, including medical care, mental health services, financial and legal advice
Visits to the Centre have increased by 55% from the beginning of November 2022 until the end of 2023 January which just goes to show how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting many people in our own community. Thanks to your contributions, SMART is able to keep our Centre open for people facing homelessness and people concerned about losing their home.
Our fantastic volunteers!
Our volunteers have recently been even busier than usual (Do they ever sleep?!). They have served up more than 200 hot lunches this week, as well as running the reception desk, sorting out donations and planting our shrubs. (Big thank you to Bedford County Council for our new plants!) They have also provided some great activities recently including a budgeting workshop with Tim, an extremely popular beginner’s yoga class with Sarah H and free haircuts with Michelle, which was big hit! We have more classes in the pipeline including how to improve a CV and even some art lessons.
Our friends at the Rotary Club Castle Road will also be helping to collect donations from food banks and have offered to do some helpful and interesting talks. Keeping busy is a great way to stay on top of your mental and physical health. If you have a skill or talent, you’d like to teach our beneficiaries and employees, please get in touch, I would love to hear from you.
Cold Relief in Bedford (CRIB) Appeal Update & IMPORTANT FEEDBACK!
There’s only 12 days left to donate to the SMART Prebend Centre CRIB Appeal and the REALLY GOOD NEWS is that we are very nearly at our target!
Our goal was to reach 40,000 pounds raised by the end of February and as of today it’s at 35,000 which means we only need to raise £5,000 to hit our target. Thank you so much if you have already donated funds to our annual winter campaign – we are beyond delighted with this result.
Several of our supporters have been unsuccessful in donating to the CRIB appeal via our online giving link. I understand how frustrating this must have been and thank you if you have provided feedback and persevered to make a donation. If you couldn’t make a donation or if setting up a profile to donate put you off, we are now able to accept donations via Just Giving, (a platform that many of us are more familiar with) and I kindly ask that you try again using this link www.justgiving.com/smart-cjs
The end is in sight! WE CAN DO THIS!
Thank you very much for continuing to support SMART.
Sarah Grimes – Fundraising and Volunteering Manager