Unusal happeningsWritten by Sarah Beaman
What was happening in Abbey United Reformed Church, Romsey on Friday, 9 March? The 3rd Romsey Scouts were inspired by churches opening their doors to homeless people over the Christmas period. They asked if they could sleep at the United Reformed Church and raise money for It's Your Choice, Totton; this was a chosen charity at Christmas by the church.
‘It's Your Choice’ offers a safe, free, and confidential support service for all young people, typically aged 12-25. They provide information, advice, guidance, counselling and casework support, delivered through drop-in sessions, outreach work, workshops, and projects or, where necessary, by signposting to other services. They aim to provide young people with the knowledge, skills and information they need to make safe, positive choices on issues which affect their lives. At the heart of all their work with young people is a commitment to be non-judgmental, to show young people respect and to empower them.
The Scouts explored what it means to be homeless and the problems they would face - apart from the obvious ones of staying safe, the health issues, obtaining food, staying warm and dry - they also discussed the reduced life chances homeless people have, the judgemental attitude towards homelessness, problems of applying for jobs with no address, cleaning clothes for interviews and overcoming the stigma of homelessness. They decided a positive way to help homeless people would be to give them a sandwich, soup or even a bottle of water. The Scouts decided a night in the cold church was more welcoming than a night facing the elements. They raised over £90 for It’s Your Choice to help towards their work with young people.