Substituting note burning for people lovin’

Bring justice, legally

Cambridge charity Homelessness Students university volunteering

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of recent events concerning a Cambridge student who burned a £20 note in front of a homeless person.

Unfortunately, some members of the public are already accusing all Cambridge University students as having the same mind, but the reality is that most Cambridge University students do not support this behaviour and never will.

The relevant authorities will presumably bring the student to correction, but if you’re still feeling just as worked up as I am, here’s what you can do, legally, to create some justice:

Streetbite

Streetbite is an organisation whereby students from all colleges band together to ensure that homeless people have enough food and drink to get them through the day and the long night. There are a disproportionately large number of homeless people in Cambridge, and Streetbite aims to help by taking out tea, coffee and sandwiches to those we meet on the streets. Students work in small groups to prepare sandwiches and drinks, before handing it out to anyone in need in central Cambridge.

Work is shift based and voluntary, however it can involve as much or as little commitment as the person likes. Shifts are usually around an hour and can be done on a daily, weekly basis or biweekly basis. There are morning, midday and evening shifts. Normally, each volunteer would only go out once a week, so the demands on their time are low. Each group spend a few pounds buying the food they will use.

However, the main focus of Streetbite is to get to know the homeless for who they are and to realise that they are real people rather than just a faceless issue. Homeless people often feel ignored by society, so taking the time to have a chat as the food is distributed can make the biggest difference of all.

Take a look at their handy guide for volunteers.

Student Community Action

Student Community Action is a non-for-profit organisation where you can get involved with a variety of community projects, whether that be helping out the homeless, or others in need. It provides a huge array of volunteering opportunities with various levels of commitment to suit a busy student schedule. This includes teaching children, spending time with people who would otherwise be on their own, providing homework help, teaching music, among many other activities. 

Here is a comprehensive list of projects you can get involved with.

End Youth Homelessness

End Youth Homelessness is an organisation working with young people like ourselves, in particular to try and help them find a safe space to stay. They understand that once a young person ends up on the streets, it can change their life prospects forever, and even life expectancy due to the hardships experienced.

The organisation works to provide young homeless people with the education needed to not only make a short term move from street to home, but a long term life change to ensure that they do not end up in the same situation again.

One of their biggest events in their ‘Sleep Out’, where young people get together and spend a night on the streets to understand how it feels to be homeless, but also raise awareness as to how it can happen to anyone of us.

For more details, visit here.

Just Love Cambridge

Another exciting venture on the horizon is ‘Suspended Coffee’, also known as ‘Coffee Pending’. This is a scheme with the Christian social justice organisation Just Love Cambridge.

In association with local coffee shops and restaurants, the scheme will help to arrange for people to buy items of food and drink in advance on their bill. In doing so, the local community, both homeless and others in need, can then collect these items for free and sit inside the venues.

Have a look at @JustLoveCambridge on Twitter for more information about up and coming schemes!

So show the world that Cambridge students do care about others, do care about their community, and certainly do care about combating homelessness.