Number of street charity users soars amid cost of living crisis

Volunteers say they’ve gone from feeding around 25 people to sometimes more than 70 on a day to day basis.

Number of charity users more than doubles amid cost of living crisis
Charity warns more people living on the breadline

An Aberdeen street charity which has become a lifeline for locals warns demand for its services has doubled in the past few weeks.

Aberdeen Street Friends say the rising cost of living has forced more and more people to rely on them for food and hot drinks.

The community service goes out onto the streets of Aberdeen six days a week, with wheelbarrows full of supplies and flasks of tea and coffee.

They’ve been helping the city’s most vulnerable for five years but in recent weeks they’ve gone from feeding around 25 people to sometimes more than 70 on a day-to-day basis.

Someone that relies on the Street Friend’s services is Blu Ram.

He has a home, but he can’t afford food.

He said: “I couldn’t afford to eat until I started begging. I have lost nine stone of muscle weight.

“The Street Friends are a gift from God. When I was freezing they’d always come round with a cup of steaming hot coffee that put heat back into my bones.”

It’s that hot cup of coffee that keeps Blu warm – his energy bills have skyrocketed.

“For every £10 I used to put in, I now put in £30. It hasn’t just doubled. When I go into £5 emergency, it only lasts a day.”

Sadly Blu’s situation isn’t rare; after their first stop handing out crisps and sandwiches, the Street Friends ran out of supplies.

Colin Robertson, volunteer with the Street Friends said: “We are going to continue seeing an increase for the foreseeable future, I don’t think things are going to change.

“People are struggling, the cost of living is rising, it’s basically going up daily.

“People are struggling with their electric; they’re struggling with things going up.

“We’re basically making sure people are getting fed… that’s basically what our job is.”

With the energy price cap expected to rise again in October, more people could be faced with having to choose between eating and heating.

But no matter how hard the pinch, Aberdeen Street Friends say they’ll make sure no one goes without.