Any act of kindness is meaningful, but when it is coming from a person in need it can be truly unforgettable.
And in the run-up to this year’s Giving Tuesday, Trudy Boyce, a homeless healthcare nurse, recounts just how meaningful that can be.
Having worked with the charity Pathway for many years, she still remembers a special moment when a homeless man donated £5 to help homeless hospital patients.
Speaking to the Giving Tuesday campaigns team, the 72-year-old recounted how she had been supporting a homeless man outside the charity’s offices for many months, offering warm drinks, socks, chats and a sleeping bag.
One day, after some time, he returned to the offices and greeted her with a five pound note in his hand. He insisted it was for the charity, to help people in need.
She explained: “He was insistent that we took it. As we were speaking, I realised that helping people makes us all feel good and so does the act of giving. He felt good about giving and if we rejected his donation it would hurt him very much.
“That was such a precious donations for us. To come back with money when he can’t even spare it is so heart breaking and touching. It also shows just how grateful people in need are for any time that you give to them. And for me, dealing with people in need who don’t have others to turn to is so meaningful. It’s great to be able to make their day and give back to society.”
Pathway is the UK’s leading homeless healthcare charity, helping the NHS to create hospital teams to support homeless patients.
Each team includes a specialist GP, nurses, allied health professionals, housing experts and in some hospitals, Pathway Care Navigators, people who were once homeless who we train to support homeless patients.
The model is now replicated in 11 other hospitals, and has even grown to Australia.
And for this year’s Giving Tuesday, the charity plans to launch a video after helping to develop a homeless health template for professionals.
The charity has worked with software company EMIS over the last two years to help develop the template, which guides GPs through helping a homeless patient, even if they haven’t done it before.
The piece of software will enable doctors to see patients’ health priorities, provide more effective treatment and help relieve pressure on the NHS by reducing bed days and treatment costs.
In the long term it could even help alert the charity to things like outbreaks of flu in homeless hostels, which can really harm vulnerable people.
To find out how to support Pathway, visit https://www.pathway.org.uk/support-us/.