‘Hope’ for homeless as winter descends

Share Button
Hope Project volunteers out in Liverpool. Pic by Connor Lynch © JMU Journalism

Hope Project volunteers out in Liverpool. Pic by Connor Lynch © JMU Journalism

As winter hits Merseyside with high winds and freezing cold temperatures, one of Liverpool’s organisations to help the homeless is stepping up its patrols to hand out food, clothing and hot drinks.

The HOPE Project was started in 2012 by Colin Dobie and has since grown into a group with multiple volunteers for every night of the week, and it receives messages every day from people wanting to get involved in the initiative.

Colin, 46, told JMU Journalism: “We’ve been going nearly three years now, going out and giving tea, coffee, chocolate, sandwiches and clothing to the homeless.

“I work at a rehab centre as well, so when we see kids as young as 17 who are addicted to drugs and on the street, we take them in at the rehab centre and help them get their lives back on track.”

During the weekly round on a cold, wet windy Sunday evening this weekend, the volunteers came across a new face, who told them how he was an ex-army serviceman and now lived on the streets with a drug problem.

The man was humbled by the food and clothing he received from the HOPE volunteers, and when Colin gave him the number for the rehab centre, his parting words were: “With your help, I can change.”

Around six months into the project, Colin was joined in the project by John Molloy, a man with a passion for helping others and vast experience from living on the streets himself.

John, 49, said: “Since I’ve experienced the project it’s not only changed me as a person, but it’s also altered my outlook in life. I’ve witnessed it change members of the public, who have come up to me and said ‘after watching you do this, I’ve went and helped my neighbour’. That knock-on effect is a big part of the project as well.”

Hope Project volunteers out in Liverpool. Pic by Connor Lynch © JMU Journalism

Hope Project volunteers out in Liverpool. Pic by Connor Lynch © JMU Journalism

Where this project differs from other homeless charities is that Hope is completely voluntary, and does not receive funds from any outside sources, though Colin admits that Liverpool City Council had offered him funding, but that he declined.

John said: “We only take donations of clothes and food from people, we don’t accept money. We’re just out to set a good example, in the hope that others will follow.”

 

About James Gamble, JMU Journalism