We sat down with Melissa Roche, Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships Manager at leading local homeless charity, Sifa Fireside.
At Sifa Fireside, no two days are ever the same. The leading Birmingham charity based on Allcock Street in Digbeth is a day centre which provides inclusion, engagement and equal access to services for homeless people within the region, which costs over £1 million a year to keep up and running.
With an aim to improve life skills, health and employment potential whilst subsequently reducing homelessness and offending, Sifa Fireside is a ‘hub’ made up of staff and volunteers who are committed to helping vulnerable individuals within the city and beyond.
“We all just knuckle down and get the job done” says Melissa Roche, who has worked at the charity for over two years generating funding and highlighting the work of the charity to develop crucial corporate partnerships.
From the specialist health clinic to a busy kitchen area where people can enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal and even a weekly barber service, Sifa Fireside is all about rebuilding trust in a safe environment to encourage a more stable lifestyle.
“There’s a lot of goodwill in Birmingham, and people do really want to help, they just don’t always know how. A lot of people are confused as to what the message is when it comes to supporting people who are presented as homeless, they don’t know whether to give money or food, but we offer high-quality services with long-lasting effects that people need to be made aware of.”
And no matter how big or small, there are a number of ways to offer support. Take a look at some of the easy ways you can do your bit to offer a helping hand:
SIGNPOSTING: The more people that know about the charity, the better. You can help to get the word out by keeping a Sifa Fireside business card on you, which can be downloaded from the SIFA Fireside website and printed off. Here you’ll find a small map, address, opening times and list of services provided, which will be able to point people in the right direction for accessing the services they require.
SOCIAL MEDIA: One of the easiest ways to keep up to date with everything going on at the charity is to follow @SifaFireside on Facebook and Twitter, where you’ll receive regular call outs for particular items and updates on new podcast episodes, which gives a voice back to the homeless, covering topics from addiction to employment.
VOLUNTEERING: From helping out in the kitchen to organizing clothing donations or painting a fence, if you’re able to spare a few hours either on your own or as a workplace team, every little helps – simply head to the website to download an application form.
WORK IT OUT PROGRAMME: If you’re a small or medium business in the surrounding area, the tried and tested ‘Work It Out’ employment programme gives you the opportunity to invest in a paid work placement for some of the city’s most marginalised adults to help bridge the gap between homelessness and employment.
DONATE: You can make a one-off donation or commit to regular payments to support the charity over at the Sifa Fireside website, where you’ll also find a full list of donatable items that they can accept, from essential toiletries to clothes.