Keeping Bristol warm: I Am Not Lost

Warmth is something that we all take for granted. Even though we love to complain bitterly about our chilly student houses, we can make ourselves warm by wearing ten layers, buying an extra blanket or simply deciding to go to the ASS. For many of the 2,774 people in Bristol without a home, the luxury of warmth is simply not an option.

The levels of homelessness in Bristol are twice the national average and are rising every day. The organisers of the ‘Keep Bristol Warm’ initiative said that over the last three years they had noticed a drastic increase in the problem. Keeping Bristol Warm is a community initiative which seeks to display “solidarity and community spirit to the homelessness in Bristol” by providing them with items to make them more comfortable. They are seek to remind us that the homeless are people too. They also organise ‘I Am Not Lost’ which is a walk through Bristol distributing items of warmth for the homeless to take. The walk has been taking place in Bristol for three years and has spread to other towns and cities such as Swindon and Cambridge.

On Sunday 25th February volunteers assembled on the Harbourside with bags full to the brim of hats, scarfs and gloves: some hand knitted, some from the back of wardrobes, some purchased from charity shops and some donated (Primark made a large donation). We set off down St. Nicholas Street, through Broadmeade and up to Cabot circus. As we went, we tied scarves around lamp posts, traffic lights and trees. Hats were put on top of posts and mittens hung over railings. We gave the items out to people sleeping on the streets as we went and they were received very gratefully. Seeing something as seemingly insignificant as a pair of gloves make such a difference to someones day was overwhelming. We knew that not all of the items would be gone by Monday morning and for this reason we sought high profile spots to place them. As people walked past them on their way to work they may have stopped to read the label and hopefully this hammered home the extent of the problem in Bristol so that, next year, even more people will help to keep Bristol warm.