#KeepBristolWarm Shows People Stepping Up When the Government Has Stepped Back.

The number of rough sleepers has risen for the last seven years, and the snow storm makes them incredibly vulnerable. One wave of activism is trying to extend solidarity to a forgotten population.

The snow has dominated the news since the beginning of the week. The population who suffers most though are those who are sleeping rough. This population in numbers has unfortunately been through a boom in recent years. Yet, where the state has failed, people are trying to step up in small ways and extend solidarity to rough sleepers at a time when their lives are at risk due to the freezing temperatures.

#KeepBristolWarm is a new idea that has gathered traction on social media. Those who can, have left scarves, hats and other items with notes for rough sleepers encouraging them to take them.

Text reads: I am not lost. Feel free to use me if you are cold. #KeepBristolWarm. Image by Thom Leggett. Posted on Twitter, available here.

It’s a small act of kindness that can help people who have largely been abandoned by society. Before the snow had even hit, in February a homeless man died from the cold in London. Homeless people should not be forgotten. Nor should people have to rely upon small acts of kindness to survive. We need real change because nobody should ever have to die from the cold.

However, these small acts show the power that activism can have, and it also highlights how social media (which is often scoffed at) can make a difference. #KeepBristolWarm is a fantastic idea and one that should spread to as many cities as possible.

Where the Government has fallen short, people are rising up to try and make a difference. It may not be enough but each little act matters and helps to bring longer change. Please remember those who are homeless, and especially rough sleeping throughout this weather pattern. Give what you can, whether it’s money or even a blanket. Write to your MP if you can. Each act matters, and each act could help keep someone safe.

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