Street Aid grants helping people experiencing homelessness to turn a corner

Gym membership from Street Aid

A year ago Charlie* wasn’t doing so well with life. He was having problems with his mental health, was struggling on benefits and had pretty much stopped going out.

He had previously been a keen amateur boxer, training regularly at a gym and was at college, but life had got in the way, and he found his financial situation had brought him back to Carecent in need of a hot breakfast.

It was there he saw a poster on the wall for the Salvation Army Boxing Gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at the same time a poster advertising a York Street Aid grant. For Charlie it was ‘a real lifesaver’ moment. It gave him the opportunity to re-join the gym, paying for annual membership with his grant. It also gave Charlie the opportunity to feel good again.

“With regular training, you just feel positive chemicals going into your system. You feel good that you are getting stronger and faster, but even when you walk out, the feeling stays, you feel fantastic.”

Since going back to the gym, Charlie has been able to turn his life around. He found work on the cleaning team in a hotel and although still a little tense, he no longer has the urge to run away when in meetings with his team.

His mood and feeling of wellbeing have also sky rocketed.

“I no longer have to go to the doctors for anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. Going to the gym is better than anything a doctor can give you or a counsellor can say to you.”

Charlie recommends applying for a Street Aid grant to other people. Seeing the posters gave him the opportunity to change his life, and he encourages others to do it too.

Cat, the Manager at Carecent has noticed the difference in Charlie, she said:

“Most of our customers come to Carecent because they are unable to afford the basics. For someone like Charlie, just paying for bills and food leaves little left over, meaning things like the gym – which are so important for wellbeing – are out of the question. York Street Aid were able to provide a grant quickly and easily, which has enabled Charlie to keep on top of his training. The difference in him has been huge and wouldn’t have been possible without the support of York Street Aid.”

Washing Street Aid blog

Sophie* applied for her Street Aid grant after being rehoused from temporary accommodation at a local Women’s refuge.

The money enabled her to buy a more economical washing machine which she hopes will save her money and last longer than a cheaper one. She was also able to afford to have it plumbed in by the delivery driver, something without the grant she would have had to wait to save up enough money to do.

“I am now able to wash my daughter’s clothes quickly and economically. A godsend when she wants to wear a different outfit every day!”

Sophie felt lucky to be rehoused on a new build estate, however, a TV aerial wasn’t wired into the house, she thinks because perhaps the developer presumed that everyone has the money to have Sky or BT.

Sophie bought a TV firestick with the remainder of the money which now allows her and her daughter to watch TV.

“The impact having a TV has had on my daughter is massive, she is now able to join in conversations with her friends about TV programmes and what they like watching (TV is life to a 7-year-old!). Without the money we would still not be able to watch anything and she would feel excluded.”

Street Aid has enabled Sophie to buy items that she thought she never would be able to, when first leaving the refuge.  She encourages others to apply too.

Emma from IDAS who has supported Sophie said:

“We’re very grateful to everyone at Street Aid for their support. Many of the families we support in our refuges have fled domestic abuse and left everything behind. The Street Aid grants have been instrumental in helping them to rebuild their lives.

*Real names not used in this blog


Apply for Street Aid in either York or the Harrogate District 

Grants of up to £500 are available right now for people just like Charlie and Sophie in York and the Harrogate District.

A grant might be spent on an appliance or membership, or it might be for an instrument or a college course. We know different people need different things, so what they want to spend the grant on is their choice.

We ask people applying to work alongside a support worker at a local support agency like Carecent, IDAS or Peasholme Charity.

York Street Aid

Harrogate District Street Aid 

Get in touch with our Street Aid Grant Officer, Sarah, to discuss applying for a grant