Four members of our U18 squad showed their support for the Barnsley Churches Drop-In Project by volunteering one afternoon at Temperance House.
Sezgin Aleksiev, Brad Binns, Rudi Pache and Charlie Winfield helped underprivileged members of the community by providing hot meals and drinks, while speaking to several clients about their stories.
U18s coach Tom Harban said: “We wanted to show the boys that there’s a lot more to life than football. They come into work every day and see the nice cars out in the car park, but, in reality, it’s a lot different to that in the real world and others aren’t as fortunate to lead this kind of lifestyle.
“The lads conducted themselves brilliantly and were happy to talk to people at the project about their experiences, and they said they’d like to go back and help out again one day.”
Centre-back Pache echoed those sentiments, saying: “Having spent time at the homeless shelter last week, I would like to go back sometime in the future and help out again.”
BCDP (Charity number: 1099602) was created in 2002 after the body of a homeless man was found in the graveyard at St Thomas’ church three years earlier. Local churches came together to help others in a similar position and ensure that help is available for those who need it the most.
The Project’s main objective is to work with drug users, the homeless and those in need in the Barnsley area, while providing support and education about the dangers of substance misuse.
“It was a very good experience as we got to see and hear the kind of struggles that other people face,” said young midfielder Binns. “Not everyone using the Project was homeless, but some who just needed a bit of help to get by and that’s provided through the project and the people running it.
“We just helped around the place in the morning by setting up things like the tables and making up a packed lunch for people to take away with them. Then, in the afternoon, we helped with checking clients into the Project so that each person would receive the food to take away. We then helped in the kitchen with things like washing up.”
As well as the need for volunteers, BCDP would also be grateful for donations – whether financial, food or clothing – in order to continue to support their clients.
The Project is open on Monday (10am – 12pm), Thursday (12pm – 2pm) and Friday (12pm – 2pm) and is based at Temperance House on Pitt Street.
One ex-client, who went onto volunteer said: “BCDP is nothing short of a God send to the impoverished people of Barnsley, it is a place where anyone can go – regardless of personal circumstance – and be greeted with kindness, a hot meal and dignity.”
It was a particularly enlightening experience for our youngsters, who had never witnessed first-hand the deprivation of others within their local community.
“It was a real eye opener because we’re used to seeing all these nice cars every day,” admitted young full-back Winfield. “Not all the people there were homeless, but some were there just to get by and the people running the sessions were brilliant.”
Midfielder Aleksiev added: “It was a great day away from football to see the life of others; it was a big experience and lesson for me to take in, just to see how there are so many people going through struggles. I think that experience could give me more motivation to get to the top.”