Edinburgh homeless charity kits out staff with eBikes to speed up aid distribution

A homeless charity has equipped 12 staff members with electronic bikes to shorten wait times for rough sleepers needing help.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:45 pm
A homeless charity has equipped 12 staff members with electronic bikes to shorten wait times for rough sleepers needing help.

The bikes will allow volunteers to see more people during any given time period and will also extend their reach beyond the city centre.

With rough sleeping in the city already at a record low homeless charity Simon Community Scotland hopes their new project will help completely eliminate rough sleeping in the city.

A similar project has already been rolled out in Glasgow and has proved extremely effective at reaching people in need.

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The volunteers, who have all received dedicated training, come from a wide background, including health, law, corporate finance, education and retail.

All staff are trained in the administration of opioid antidote, Naloxone, and also CPR.

One of the volunteers is Jill Reilly. She first became involved with Streetwork during the COVID-19 lockdown, helping make meals in a hotel used in the city to accommodate people who were homeless.

Volunteer Jill Reilly said: “The Naloxone training is a potential life-saver. But, more generally, getting to know people and to hear their stories, makes me realise why I got involved, as a volunteer, in the first place.

“I like walking, but I think I prefer cycling, and the bikes should allow me to see more people. The main thing, of course, is to help people find secure, if necessary supported, accommodation. When that happens, it feels like a real achievement.”

The service will officially launch tomorrow and the charity is seeking to recruit more volunteers plus partners who can provide bike storage and maintenance facilities.

Director of Services & Development, at Simon Community Scotland

Hugh Hill said: “Edinburgh has seen a dramatic fall in people rough sleeping in the city.

“Streetwork, along with key third sector partners and Edinburgh City Council, have worked throughout the pandemic, supporting people into safe accommodation.

“We are determined to see that no-one ever has to sleep on our city’s streets. Our brand-new cycle outreach service is powered not just by electric motors but, crucially, by our volunteers working hand in glove with Streetwork’s existing street outreach team.”

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