For the ninth consecutive year, Sungard Availability Services is taking part in the Crisis Christmas campaign, supporting the charity’s vital work helping homeless people nationwide.
One in four homeless people spend Christmas alone. But this year Crisis expects to welcome more than 4,000 homeless people in from the cold for warmth, support and access to vital services. The charity’s centres provide a hot meal, medical help, dentistry, chiropody, eye care, hair care and advice and company at what can be a very lonely time of year. So instead of finding a traditional Christmas card in the post from us you can view this year’s e-card which links to a video message here:
The work of Crisis has never been more important. The number of homeless people sleeping rough on the streets in England has doubled since 2010, rising by 30 per cent just in the last year. Support from companies like Sungard AS will also help the 10,000 people who will access Crisis’ year-round education, training, employment and housing advice services throughout 2017.
During Christmas week in 2015, more than 30,000 meals were served to over 3,500 guests in London alone, with 785 healthcare consultations and 439 dental sessions taking place across the charity’s centres. Vital housing advice was among 22 different services on offer to people who feel ignored on most other days of the year.
People like Jacob who was just 19 years old when he found himself on the streets. “It’s pretty hard to find somewhere with four walls and a roof so if it rains you don’t get wet. So I just ended up sleeping on stairs and that was the most uncomfortable thing.”
Or Helen who had a steady, fulfilling career as a civil servant but had a mental breakdown at 51 years old, followed by redundancy and then eviction. Helen was left without a roof over her head and struggling to cope with arthritis and diabetes. It was winter and bitterly cold. “I was in a really, really bad place,” she remembers. “You’ve lost everything and you feel that you’re not of value to anyone.”
Another guest, Alex, had an unsettled childhood growing up in care and has been in and out of homelessness for six years, often sleeping rough. He tried to get help from the council but found there is a six-year waiting list. “Six years! I’ve got a dog – her name’s Maggie – and the people who look after her let me stay for a week. That was nice – got to see my dog! But to be honest, being on the street is hard,” he says. “I mainly want to get housing advice. It would be nice just to have a warm sleep, rather than being sat crunched up trying to sleep.”
Keith Tilley, executive vice president, global sales and customer services management for Sungard AS, comments, “Isolation and loneliness are common among people who are homeless - almost four in ten said they spend their entire day alone - and this is particularly acute at Christmas. At this special time of year when the majority of us are enjoying time with family and friends, I am delighted that with our support for Crisis, Sungard AS is giving homeless people a warm, welcoming place to go over the festive period and helping to make a big difference to so many vulnerable people’s lives.”
If your organisation is interested in supporting the work of Crisis, find out more about commercial partnerships here.