“The fact no one died in the storms is astonishing,” says city homeless worker

By Amelia Oates

A charity worker who helps the homeless said today it was a miracle no one had lost their life in the recent storms in Sheffield.

The Cathedral Archer Project and Ben’s Centre both provided a safe sanctuary for vulnerable people on the streets who got soaking wet and cold during the storms. 

The woman, who works for Ben’s Centre, a non-profit organisation in Sheffield, said: “We rely on the great and good in Sheffield and the fact that no one died in the floods in car parks where people tend to gravitate too to keep safe is astonishing.” 

The centre was only able to keep running during the Covid pandemic thanks to donations and the relocation of the charity to a bigger building.

The new facility allows for 10-20 people to visit at a time, meaning they can safely continue their work. 

The recent weather has meant the organisation has had an increase in people visiting, wearing wet socks and shoes, in need of a shower and change of clothes which they provide.  

The worker said: “We provide a sanctuary for four hours a day to try to enable people to make better decisions for themselves.”

“The council and government need to address what they are going to do due to Climate Change.”

The Archer Project, located at the back of Sheffield Cathedral, sees around 50 people a day from 8:30am until 1:00pm five days a week. 

It started in the 1980s during high levels of unemployment and poverty, and has been helping the vulnerable ever since. 

Andy Parfrement, 51, a manager at the centre, said he hasn’t seen a significant change in the number of people needing their help over the 20 years he has worked there. 

He said: “Certainly for the past 10-15 years numbers have been fairly consistent.” 

“I would encourage people to look on the Help for Help website to help the homeless. I would personally advise people to hand over money to the homeless so that they can buy food.”

Written by Amelia Oates

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