Growing Facebook group is mobilising a volunteer army to ‘give back’ to those in need in Stevenage

Simon with his brand new set of teeth

Simon with his brand new set of teeth - Credit: Archant

Helping fix false teeth, handing out rucksacks and sleeping bags and persuading businesses to give donations are all in a day’s work for members of a Stevenage community group which is helping people in need through the winter.

Simon's teeth after repair

Simon's teeth after repair - Credit: Archant

Give Back To Stevenage formed just before Christmas, with its first event a party for the homeless in Stevenage Old Town.

After the success of that event the group is using its popular Facebook page to match those who need help with those who can offer it, and the benefits are being felt across town.

Recent work includes the group fixing up a set of false teeth belonging to a homeless man called Simon who has been living in the cold weather provision at Stevenage’s homeless centre, the Stevenage Haven.

Brian Hickey and Michelle Dolley Hickey of Absolute Dental in Knebworth stepped into the cavity and offered to clean and fix Simon’s set of teeth which were broken and stained.

A member of Tesco staff donating trainers to Robbie

A member of Tesco staff donating trainers to Robbie - Credit: Archant


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It was the power of the Facebook group which brought the two sides together and

Simon was delighted with his new set of teeth.

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Since Christmas the group has been collecting donations of clothes, shoes and toiletries and has been distributing them as required.

On Monday GBTS members went out around town giving out rucksacks to homeless or those without a permanent home, filled with equipment including socks, underwear and torches – some donated by the GBTS supporters and some by Tesco.

John Cullen with his new rucksack and winter kit donated by GBTS.

John Cullen with his new rucksack and winter kit donated by GBTS. - Credit: Archant

The Tesco store in Stevenage town centre has become the first food store to back the group permanently and has been donating food and other useful items where appropriate.

One of the group’s founders, Sam Wood said she is delighted by the response from the Stevenage community.

She said: “I’m amazed. we’ve found community spirit where we thought there was none.

“As a group we’re very proud of the way Stevenage people have pulled together and helped make a dream and a project happen.”

GBTS is keen to emphasise it wants to work in partnership with other groups, not replace the work they are doing.

To that end it has made an arrangement with the Foodshed at the Stevenage Vinyard, which provides food for those in need.

This Saturday, GBTS is working with the Unikorn shop in Market Place which will put a clothes rail outside the shop to collect donations of clean, washed coats for any age and size, hats and scarves,

Homeless or those on a low income or less fortunate are then invited along to take them.

On Saturday, February 25 at midday GBTS is asking people to bring out black bags and gloves to do a litter pick in the town centre.

The group is still looking for a permanent base to store items and a mobile home it can use as a mobile soup kitchen and donation centre.

For details about all the group’s activities and to donate and get involved, go to Facebook and search for ‘Give Back to Stevenage’.

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