June 20, 2017, by Emma Thorne
Tea and Company – new student charitable venture hits the streets of Nottingham
A group of five students from the University of Nottingham has established a unique charitable project for homeless people in Nottingham.
Aptly named Tea & Company, the project was established in January 2017 and is already receiving praise from those who use their services.
Founders Rebecca Webster, Carrie Hau, Freya Lama, Hannah Freer and Rebekah Hughes are adult, child and mental health nurses, which gives the project its unique nature. The team of students were concerned about the rising number of homeless people in Nottingham and in particular the link to mental health issues, so they decided to take action to help.
Rebecca Webster, co-founder of the project, said: “Homelessness is a public health issue and people are 20 per cent more likely to experience mental health problems, but more critically, they are also more likely to get to crisis point before it’s addressed as they don’t have a permanent home.”
The charity delivers food and drinks to people on the streets of Nottingham on the last Wednesday of every month and ensures that they engage with people, listen to their stories and promote both physical and mental wellbeing, whilst signposting them to the services they may require.
Hannah Freer, co-founder of the project, said: “People are giving us great feedback when we’re out and about in Nottingham. We generally set up a base, but also walk around with snacks and canisters of tea to find those vulnerable people who may not want to approach us. We want to be able to engage with as many people as we can and we know that having one-to-one contact is incredibly important.
“We not only give out food and drinks, but we also collect clothing and sleeping materials such as sleeping bags and offer those out also. We are lucky enough to have other students and friends and family who help us on the Tea & Company outings, but we are always looking for new volunteers.”
The project currently accepts donations from students at the University of Nottingham; however their stocks can’t be replenished quickly enough and are now looking for wider support ranging from donations to volunteering on an outing or helping to support the project with skills, for example, setting up a webpage or helping with materials to promote the project.
Rebecca continued: “We are hopeful that with the right support we can really make a difference to people and we’re all very passionate about helping. We would be extremely grateful for any help, whether this is on a personal or corporate basis.
“We know that homelessness in Nottingham is a progressive problem with people not having access to the services they need and we believe that this needs higher support from the Government. However we have also recognised that there is a significant need to coordinate activity for the homeless to ensure that we are helping in the best way and we will be calling upon our local council and other services for their support to achieve this.”
Looking ahead and with regular donations and sponsorship, the project is hoping that they can expand their outings to two a month and expand into Derby and other cities in the East Midlands region.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the project or donate can do so via https://spsr.me/ghtx and get in touch via @uon.t.company on Facebook and @UonN_TandCompany on Twitter.