Charity to distribute portable phone chargers to Glasgow’s homeless

Rough sleepers in Glasgow are being handed portable mobile phone battery chargers to help ensure their phone is sufficiently powered up for what could be a lifesaving call to a support service.

Glasgow-based homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland has identified a relatively high level of mobile phone ownership among rough sleepers in the city, but no easy way of being able to charge them when their battery power begins to run down.

In response it has commissioned powerpacks that can be handed out by its street teams (including one on bicycles) with the packs printed with vital contact telephone numbers, including its own, in case of emergency.

Spent powerpacks are collected by street team members, in return for fully-charged ones.

Hugh Hill, director of Services at Simon Community, said: “For most of us, our phone is a crucial connection to our family, friends and the outside world.

“If you’re on the street, it’s more important than that; your phone is a lifeline, security and, in some cases, it’s your only means of help.”

According to Simon Community Scotland statistics, the average life expectancy of a homelessness person is 47, while a rough sleeper is nine times more likely to commit suicide and 47 times more likely to be robbed.

Many people who are rough sleepers find it difficult to charge their phone in the way most people would when out shopping or visiting cafes or restaurants.

Hugh Hill added: “Our focus is always about getting people off the streets but, where that’s not possible, we want people to be safe - which is why we’re planning to issue portable phone chargers to people on the street.”

To coincide with the ‘National Random Acts of Kindness Day’ on February 17, the general public is being asked to donate £5 to purchase more powerpacks and top up cards. Donations can be made by texting CHRG35 to 70070.

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