UK waste management company Biffa is launching a partnership with Simon Community Scotland (SCS) to tackle homelessness in the country.
SCS is a Scottish charity that provides help and support to homeless people via their street teams, drop in support and advice centres, and 24-hour helpline. SCS work across Glasgow, Edinburgh and Central Scotland.
The partnership with Biffa will support the services that SCS provides as well as raising awareness for the charity.
Biffa is sponsoring the cost of the helpline and street team throughout the month of October to give advice and support to those in need. On average, the helpline receives 500 to 600 calls per month. On the streets 140 Biffa vehicles will also carry the SCS logo and helpline number as they complete their rounds in Scotland.
Gavin Money, the regional manager at Biffa, commented: “The reality is our collection teams are on the streets every day and come across people that need support, and we want to be able to do as much as we can to help. Our partnership with SCS will allow us to educate our staff, volunteer and make a difference to people’s lives.”
Biffa has worked hard to raise awareness of the dangers of people sleeping in bins, issuing a call to action on waste management companies to make their bins harder to access, as well as commissioning research with the Open University and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management to find out the extent of the issue in the sector.
Biffa introduced its own approach to the issue by implementing warning stickers, locks and even trialling human detection technology. The collaboration with SCS is part of Biffa’s continued support to tackle the issue and eradicate homelessness.
In 2020-2021, the Scottish government recorded 42,000 people in homeless households with 25% of these households’ containing children, despite rooms and housing offered during the pandemic reducing applications for housing.
The reality is our collection teams are on the streets every day and come across people that need support,
With the lockdown rules ending, this figure is likely to increase to pre-pandemic levels, SCS says.
Murray Easton, Head of Fundraising & Communications at Simon Community Scotland, said: “Everyone at SCS is delighted to be working in partnership with Biffa. Our street teams in Edinburgh and Glasgow are out every single day, connecting with people who are sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. We provide advice, support to access services and some on-street services.”
Murray added: “Our partners at Biffa are also out on the streets every day, making this partnership feel incredibly natural and we’re excited about how we can work together to increase awareness of the issue, change and ultimately save lives.
“We really appreciate Biffa’s support – their teams will be on the ground helping with our helpline the week commencing with world homeless day on 10th October.”