Sally Harvey - Chairperson
The objective of the Charity is the relief of the needs of homeless people by the provision of funds, assistance, facilities, goods, services and other means of support in the Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and surrounding areas.
Sally Harvey has more than 10 years experience working for homeless agencies before having to give up work because she has Parkinson’s disease. Early this year Sally decided she wanted to continue helping the homeless, by deciding to help all of the Agencies in whatever way was possible. AOK Rucksack Appeal was born.
Filled rucksacks would only be provided for the new homeless who had engaged with an agency, she would provide essential items to newly housed ex homeless. Provide events where both groups could be empowered to try to get their lives back on track (a whole philosophy is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). She also works to reduce the stigma of homeless.
To date we have been very successful.
The demand for “Move On” packs is growing considerably. Cost per pack is approximately £25. Currently we have to raise funds to buy the containers and their contents. We think that people are more likely to donate items rather than cash so want to offer suggestions on how they can donate, Wash Bag filled with toiletries, Winter Warmers, a medium sized thick paper bag for gloves, scarves, hats, thick socks, etc, Bag for Life, a canvas, or similar bag, for crockery, cutlery, tin opener, washing up liquid, toilet roll, etc. However we have the problem of the initial outlay of purchasing and providing the bags and publicity.We would also like to have sufficient funds to launch empowerment events, and to create a proper talk / presentation for talking about the problems of stigma regarding homelessness.
If we can get more of the essential items donated then we would be better able to meet the demand and at a reduced cost. For instance the toiletries donated in a Wash Bag could be used in either a rucksack or the bowl portion of the “Move On” pack would cost approximately £10.
We plan to start in the New Year with purchasing the required bags and publicising them for free through Facebook and our website. With more publicity through posters, newspaper ads, and mail shots to large employers we think that far more people will want to take part. Ideally we then need to be able to give out the bags for filling and returning.
Each “Move On” pack represents one homeless person off the streets and we are told by the Agencies that the newly housed are very happy with “this gift” as it helps them with some essentials for the first few days of their new life and lets them know there are people wanting them to succeed.
With this extra incentive to leave the streets, and the empowerment events, we are hopeful that more homeless will want to be housed, and hopefully more likely to stay off the streets. This could be the first steps in getting these people back into the community and society, with less homeless on the streets.