Setting the alarm clock for 5am is not a problem for Emily – one of Path’s Rough Sleeper workers. She’s a fan of early mornings, which helps when her working day starts at 6am.
It begins with checking at the usual sites where rough sleepers can be found around Plymouth. “We make sure we get across the city during the week,” said Emily, who started her career by volunteering at Devonport House when she was at university.
“We make referrals, point people to the appropriate services and to where they can have breakfast, get a change of clothes and have a shower.”
Sometimes people don’t want help and usually, Emily says “they will tell us politely to go away”. "Some people are not very receptive, so we do a welfare check and leave it at that – we can’t force people to accept help, which can be frustrating.”
After the initial couple of hours checking in with people - always done in pairs, with colleagues at Path aware at all time where they are – it’s on to Shekinah Drop-in Centre where calls are made and accommodation arranged for that night and a variety of other appropriate support is explored.
“It might sound strange but there can be a really nice atmosphere at the drop-in centre.
"I really enjoy talking to people and no two stories about rough sleeping are the same. What’s most striking is how easy it is for someone to end up in that situation, whatever their background.” Emily really enjoys her job, despite the challenges it presents. "Of course it’s a bit harder when it’s cold and wet and you’re having trouble getting people to engage but we do all we can every day. When things go right, I know I’ve made a difference – that’s what makes this job.”
Find out more about the services and help that Path offers.