Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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A user's view of Christmas Crisis...

September 26 2009
Despite being urged to spill his guts by the Samaritans, one reader really quite enjoyed Crisis Open Christmas Christmas, love it or loathe it, for those of us on the street it is a time of many mixed feelings. I've heard many say it. Being street homeless myself, I do tend to agree. Perhaps the spirit of Christmas past wrestles with the spirit of Christmas present, and let's be honest, we have not lived on the streets all of our lives. I can personally look back over many years of the annual festive season with fond memories, but, of course, I realize that is not the case for everyone. Despite the common misconception, we are all different. Christmas is a package. A mixture of what is good about it and what's bad. It would be nice if we could separate the two, but we cannot, the two are intermixed into one beast - the Snugglebitch. Some of it we cannot get enough of. Some of it we hate. Being the street homeless we also know that this time of the year most of the day centre services that we tend to rely on close for the seasonal duration. Have we been abandoned? Some would say yes. I met the Snugglebitch beast at Crisis Open Christmas this year. And what did I think? Well, I've heard the comments many times before, "They smother us with kindness for a few days and then throw us back onto the streets again." True, but let us again be honest, we do have the choice don't we? I know several amongst our number, who for reason best beknownst to themselves, will have nothing to do with Crisis. Indeed I have had many years on the streets and have avoided it myself some years, but this year I used it like a day centre. Coming and going by day and sleeping out at night. The verdict: To start with the food (I ate mainly at the quiet shelter) was very good indeed. The staff, mostly volunteers, were marvellous. The only criticism I could possibly make in that direction would be at the Samaritans. Because I am homeless does not mean I must, therefore, be suicidal! This seems to be their immovable view. Standing still for a moment at the main shelter to take a look around I was immediately pounced upon by one of these over-zealous individuals who insisted that I should "talk about it." Talk about what? We all know the good work the Samaritans do, but this was too much. There is room for other improvements, restraining the Samaritans aside; for example, the showers at the quiet shelter were very poor! But, overall the complete package, considering what it cost us, was... Well, very good indeed. Of course, that's just my opinion (and no, I am not being paid to say this), and you will have your own interpretations of events, and I'm sure we'll get letters on this subject. To everyone who made it possible at Crisis. Thank you, from one grateful client.