January 2017
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Heart for the Homeless
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Andrew Roberts pictured at Julian Trust.
Andrew Roberts pictured at Julian Trust.

Volunteers at Julian Trust sorting food and clothing items for their guests.
Volunteers at Julian Trust sorting food and clothing items for their guests.


Channelling despair into meaningful action was a major turning point for Andrew Roberts, Argent Energy Sales Manager, when he faced a crisis in his own life three years ago. "I saw some homeless people on the street and I thought to myself: 'however difficult my life is right now, there are so many people worse off than me'. Few of us could imagine the level of hardship faced by homeless people – particularly when the weather turns cold – and I realised how lucky I am to have a place to stay."

Soon afterwards, Andrew decided to volunteer at Julian Trust, a homeless shelter in Bristol that provides assistance to 50 to 100 homeless people per night, rising to as many as 300 people during the Christmas period. "My first visit to Julian Trust was one Christmas Day, when I met the guests, and offered them food, clothing and conversation. I enjoyed the fact that I was helping out." Andrew also takes delivery of food and clothing donations from the public, and puts out appeals through social media and local advertising.

"I see a strong need for care for the homeless in Bristol, where drug and alcohol abuse pose a major danger to people living on the street – their self-esteem is so badly hit they easily turn to drugs and drink. I am not professionally trained to help them, but I try to provide a sympathetic ear," reflects Andrew. "I remember one day, just as we were closing, a young couple living in a squat down the road walked in. Their meagre belongings had been stolen and the man had been badly beaten up. I sat them down, gave them food, toiletries, sleeping bags and clothes and drove them to a friend's house. They said no one had ever done anything like that for them before. A few months later, I saw them in town: they now have a flat provided by the council, the lady is pregnant, and they looked very happy. That was the best outcome I could ask for," says Andrew.
Heart for the Homeless
Heart for the Homeless
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Swire Intra-group Running Competition 2016
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Swire News January 2017
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