Salvation Army mobilises to protect the most vulnerable from the heat “Let’s all look out for each other”
published on 26 Jul 2019
The Salvation Army is providing help for homeless and other vulnerable people to stay safe in the hot weather — and is encouraging the public to look out for each other.
The church and charity’s drop-in centre near London’s Oxford Circus, for people who are homeless and rough sleeping, is extending its opening hours to offer a safe cool space during the extreme hot weather. The No. 10 Drop-in Centre opened today and again tomorrow from 9am until 9pm for anyone who needs a safe space to get out of the sun. Refreshments and food will also be available with support provided by Salvation Army volunteers.
The Salvation Army’s Assistant Regional Manager for Homelessness Services in London, Lieutenant Daniel Holland, said: “Today we have opened our doors for anyone who needs a safe space to cool off and get out of the sun. We will monitor the extreme weather conditions and make a decision about opening for additional days.”
Daniel adds: “If you see a vulnerable person on the street in your community, perhaps offer them a bottle of water or signpost them to a place of safety. Each local authority will have a street outreach team, and many churches and other organisations will be doing extra checks and opening their doors to provide respite.”
In Coventry, The Salvation Army is increasing its outreach work with rough sleepers and signposting them to emergency hot-weather support offered at its Harnell Lane Lifehouse (hostel). Rough sleepers will be able to access chilled drinks, sun cream and a safe place to cool themselves in an air-conditioned environment.
The Salvation Army is also working in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council to meet the needs of local people who are homeless during this very hot weather. Its community church on the Island will be open for 24 hours to offer shelter from the heat.
The Christian church and charity has a network of more than 750 community churches and social centres across the UK and Ireland, offer a vital source of friendship and companionship for people of all backgrounds and needs, many of whom would otherwise experience loneliness and isolation.
Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, Territorial Commander for The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, said:
“During extreme weather, when vulnerable people are more at risk, members of The Salvation Army community are ready to offer support. This heat wave has the capacity to lead to premature deaths as much as, if not more so, than freezing temperatures in January. We encourage everyone to do what they can to help vulnerable people such as older neighbours, friends and relatives during the hot weather.”
How to support one another during extreme weather:
1. Be alert and look out for others
Be active in checking that vulnerable individuals known to us are safe, well and are keeping hydrated. In particular ensure older people, young children and those with health conditions are able to keep cool and regulate their body temperature. Visit the NHS website for guidance https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/
2. Offer your company
If you have older neighbours or relatives that do not want to go out in the sun, perhaps you could pop round and keep them company? Heatwaves can last for days and older people may become lonely and isolated.
3. Help with shopping and cooking
In addition to food and drink, older people may need help getting medication. If they want to get out of the house, a lift in an air-conditioned car may be a welcome alternative to getting the bus.
Cooking can be hot work. Could you invite them over for a meal or take an extra portion of dinner round to them?
4. Watch out for heat stroke
Older people, people with health conditions and those who are homeless are more at risk of heat stroke. Symptoms include loss of appetite, clammy skin, a high temperature and being very thirsty. Keeping hydrated is really important.
The NHS has shared detailed information about the symptoms of heat stroke and tips for prevention.