Who

Tunbridge Wells Churches Street Teams is a voluntary organisation which was launched in October 2009, although we were originally part of the work of the Bridge Trust running for several years under their banner. Our remit is to provide point-of-need contact for the homeless and disadvantaged in Tunbridge Wells with the aim of providing food and warm clothing for all those who need it. We will tell you who you can contact if you wish to donate either financially or materially or would like to pray for the work we do. We thank you for taking the time to read about us.

some of the Tuesday team

Where

The Street Teams operate in a multi-storey car park in Tunbridge Wells. There are about forty two volunteers who operate the Street Team service, which is provided on six nights per week (not Fridays). The majority of food and beverages supplied to the homeless each night are supplied as donations to the activity. Our customers whom we meet in the car park come from a variety of backgrounds and defy popular stereotypes of homelessness – some are street homeless, some are sofa-surfers, they may have undergone family breakdown, may have mental health problems, may have fallen on hard times. All need love, care and respect.



Crescent Rd car park

Extract from our Annual Report 2014

The general economy had started to show signs of recovery but not enough to make any real impact on the numbers of guests we saw in the last year, so support for the homeless and needy needs to be as strong as ever in our next year.
Last year I said that I would like us to integrate with other similar organisations that operate in the Tunbridge Wells area to enable us to help people more. I am pleased to say that I now attend the monthly council meetings for rough sleepers. There are representatives from CRI, Porchlight, Bridge Trust, the Police, CAB, Town & Country Housing, Winter Shelter and the Soup bowl. We are all helping each other.
Unbelievably we have lost four of our guests, sadly some face problems at every corner they turn. On the positive side, at least three people that we know who visit the street teams have been housed in the last year.
We really wanted to set up another night to operate - we decided it would be a Saturday. We received a donation for set up costs from St Augustine’s church and our lead volunteer for the team did several talks at various churches to recruit volunteers. Hard work paid off and on September 20th we were operational.
Lastly a big thank you to all of the amazing volunteers, cooks, donors and everyone else who have dedicated their time and money to supporting the street teams over the last year. Without you we could not provide the invaluable service we provide six nights a week. And hopefully next year I will be writing seven nights a week.                                                                      Vicki Stewart – Chairperson

Annual Report November 2014

The Street Teams exist to...

  • feed, encourage, spiritually nourish, give appropriate advice and act as a source of information and emergency provisions for the homeless community in Tunbridge Wells;
  • help reduce the number of people sleeping rough and reduce the number of homeless suffering from malnutrition in the town of Tunbridge Wells;
  • “Trust in the Lord and do good” PS.37 v.3;
  • work within the Christian ethos. We believe that everyone has the right to have a safe home and an adequate standard of living;
  • give appropriate support, information and contacts to those who need it;
  • work with local churches, the local authority, the police and other agencies who support this initiative;
  • contribute to the activities of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to alleviate the hardship of the homeless in the town.

Our ethos

Street Teams - a history

In the beginning, that is 1994, Mrs Pat Tilley met Neal, a rough sleeper in Tunbridge Wells. In conversation with Neal she realised that there must be several men sleeping rough in the town. With advice and support from David Gilpin, founder of the Bridge Trust, and with encouragement and funds from several churches, Pat Tilley founded what became The Bridge Trust Street Teams. In January 1995 Pat led three teams into the Crescent Road car park for three nights a week with 20 volunteers. Soup and sandwiches were served from the boots of cars. It soon became apparent that this was not sufficient. We are now more sufficient serving hot food from tables with chairs for customers to sit on. Sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothes are provided. As time passed two more teams formed giving cover for five nights (currently six). In the early days we would have up to 15 customers a night. In 2013 this number rose to 25 on average, some nights over 30.
In 2009 the Street Teams separated from the Bridge Trust and reformed as the Tunbridge Wells Churches Street Teams voluntary association with its own management committee and constitution. Local churches and individual donors have always supported us and some kind people have made regular donations since our beginning.
Our customers have never been only those who are homeless, others come to us – the lonely, those who are short of money, those who, for whatever reason, need a hot meal or just to meet the volunteers and have a chat, and the distressed. Through the years 31 customers have died, the youngest in her early twenties. Some have died without family contact and have gone to be remembered by a few and soon forgotten. It is the donors and volunteers who make everything work. Three volunteers served since 1995; others have served for over a decade. They are prepared to work on even the coldest evening, every week without thought of reward.
“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith, need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’” Romans 15, 1-2 (The Message)
Humble beginnings...

Contacting us

Do feel free to email us at
twstreetteams@yahoo.co.uk

Financial Support

If you would like to donate in any way, we would be pleased to let you know what our current needs are. Items such as warm, clean clothing, sleeping bags, toiletries, dry food, tins of soup goods etc are generally in demand.





Do feel free to email us at twstreetteams@hotmail.co.uk