Appeal launched to enable homeless to have a shower

One of the city's leading homeless charities has launched an appeal for the capital's residents to donate unwanted towels to enable those who use its crisis centre to have a shower.

Picture: Jon Savage

Streetwork, who help 2000 disadvantaged people annually, are running low on towels and basic toiletries which they provide to those living on the streets free of charge from their Holyrood Road crisis centre.

However, with the cold and dark nights drawing in, the demand for basic items, including towels and warm winter clothing, is higher than usual.

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Claire Gibson, chief executive of the organisation, says the crisis centre offers more than a bed for the night for those on the streets.

“It’s vitally important that we are able to continue to provide the kind of services that help those in need and donations from the public are a big part of that,” she said.

“Towels maybe aren’t typically what people think of when they want to donate something, but because we’re helping 2000 people a year, we go through towels quicker than the average household.

“Any unused or unwanted towels would be accepted, but they have to be in good enough condition to use.

“We’re also accepting donations of any warm winter clothing – jackets, jumpers, fleeces and boots – which we can pass on to those who use the centre.

“Giving these people the facilities to have a shower, to use the phones, to access the internet and to have communication with other people ­using the centre and the staff that work there is a massive boost to their self-esteem, it has a much deeper effect than purely being physical.”

The group posted a message requesting donations on social media, which has been inundated with responses from people after being shared by Edinburgh-based Social Bite.

The social enterprise’s founder, Josh Littlejohn, said they were willing to help with the drive for donations in any way they could. “Streetwork are our partners and friends, they do an incredible job going out and helping people who find themselves on the street,” he said.

“The organisation is in need of towels so people who are in housing crisis or sleeping rough can go there and take showers. We’re helping where we can and are asking anyone who has towels they’d like to donate to drop them off with us and we’ll get them to Streetwork.”

Claire said: “It’s fantastic something as popular as Social Bite is willing to pass on our message, the more people are aware that crisis centres like ours need their help, the more likely they are to donate.”

Donations can be made at the Streetwork CRISIS centre at 22, Holyrood Road or at any Social Bite premises on Rose Street or Shandwick Place.