The aim of The Bearpit is to be a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone. Some of our most important stakeholders are the homeless who often use The Bearpit as a place to meet, rest and watch the world go by.
Recently, with a view to supporting those without a regular place to sleep, a community board has been put up by local organisation, Keep Bristol Warm (KBW). The board is a simple but effective tool for those living on our streets. It outlines where food is available throughout the week and also has a map showing where the places are and a clock. Communities within Bristol are able to advertise on this board so that anyone doing anything to help the homeless and street sleepers can let them know what’s available and where.
KBW was started by Gavyn Emery in December 2015 with a clothing and toiletries drive in The Bearpit. His motivation was a visit to Edinburgh where he was shocked to see so many people living rough in such cold weather and started to plan what he could do with the support of others in Bristol to help the homeless through the winter.
Following the main event in December, KBW launched two related projects, Pending Coffee and Street Paws. A number of coffee shops around Bristol are so far participating in the Pending Coffee scheme: customers can purchase an extra coffee and leave one pending for a homeless person or street sleeper to collect a for free. Street Paws was set up to look after the dogs who are companions to those living on the streets. KBW provides coats and food for the dogs on the street to help them keep warm as well.
Keep Bristol Warm isn’t a charity but works on love and compassion. It accepts donations, big or small, and hands help out directly on to the streets and to the homeless charities in this city. KBW donated over 50 full boxes of clothing to the Julian Trust in December. It has also supported One25, Care In Bristol and Spring Of Hope. Through receiving donations and pushing them out directly to those who need them, KBW is working to raise awareness and to challenge the perception that homeless people are any different from the rest of us.
KBW have held a few events over the last year such as I Am Not Lost, a homelessness photography exhibition. The next event is Soles 4 Souls, an awareness raising and donation event, on 31st July on College Green. The aim is to cover 197 heart shaped mats with footwear to give out to the street and shelters around the city. For further information,