On the 8th March, I was privileged to help Simon on the Streets with one of their Outreach visits to Leeds city centre. It started with
meeting Abi (and friends) by Kirkgate Market and then armed with soup, sandwiches and hot chocolate we made our way to the centre. It was
expected to be quiet as many of the homeless had been banned by the Police from the centre for 48 hours for begging. We decided to walk
around to see if we could see anyone in need of support. And indeed we did.
The first two gents were chatty and grateful to see us (not to mention the dog!). This was followed by a gentleman who refused a sandwich and who seem agitated. He accepted a hot chocolate and then visibly before my eyes, softened. I thought that it must sometimes be as challenging to accept kindness as is it contempt. It transpired that he had a poorly stomach and the over sugared hot chocolate was a comfort. We moved on to a man who was cross legged as if in a school assembly but slumped over. We checked if he was ok. He was. Very much asleep, but seemingly ok. Another chap was very lucid and engaging in current affairs. “Why was he there” I pondered. My sense was addition and the slippery slope led him here. A real life snake and ladders. There were a number of other meetings and all in all it left me humbled and grateful for both the security that I enjoy and the certainty of a network of friends and family who would equally be there to support me in the event I was in need. That support is taken for granted and it was only after that I reflected on a comment my Wife made to me before I left for Leeds; “What time will you be home, Love?” Home and Love, now there´s a thought…