Features / #BristolCharityAdvent

Bristol Charity Advent Calendar 2019, day 23: Roots Independent Street Team

By lowie trevena, Thursday Dec 19, 2019

Roots Independent Street Team are a volunteer-led charity providing a weekly service to anyone suffering from homelessness in Bristol.


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Every Thursday from 7pm to 9pm, a team of volunteers set up an area on College Green and serve hot meals and drinks, snacks and savoury items. Some food is cooked by volunteers and some are from food and drink businesses such as Pret A Manger and Greggs.

Roots Independent Street Team are on College Green every Thursday

As well as food and drink, volunteers also distribute clothing, toiletries, sleeping bags and rucksacks, and a street vet is available on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.

However, Roots doesn’t just provide support in the form of physical goods, but volunteers signpost to other city organisation which can help service users as well.

“We believe strongly in creating a friendly, positive atmosphere,” says Justine Pemberton, the charity’s founder. “’Reliability, consistency, conversation, kindness and time’ are our key aims for anyone who comes to visit us.”

As well as providing food and drink, the service also ensures a friendly face and and a warm welcome

Over the festive season, the charity organised a campaign to get people living in Bristol to donate filled rucksacks, with more than 200 donated: “We owe this all to the great people of Bristol,” says Justine. “Especially a man called Phil who brought together over 160 bags. He’s a member of the Portishead RNLI and spread the word far and wide across Portishead!”

The team also organised a special Christmas evening, complete with choir, and handed out the filled rucksacks to users of the service.

Justine says: “We have a wealth of support from Bristol companies and the local community, without whom our service wouldn’t be possible.”

Photos thanks to Roots Independent Street Team.

Find out more and support the charity at www.bristolhomelessconnect.com/organisation/roots-independent-street-team

Read more: Bristol’s homelessness and rough sleeping strategy

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