SIFA Fireside banks on public support for emergency funding appeal

07 April 2020

SIFA Fireside, Birmingham’s main day centre for homeless and vulnerably housed adults, has launched an emergency appeal to help secure its future after losing a number of donations in the wake of COVID-19. The charity is hoping to raise £50,000 over the coming months through its #SIFASurvives campaign to ensure it can continue supporting people find long-term and sustainable routes out of homelessness.

The Coronavirus pandemic has rocked charities and community projects across the board and has seen SIFA Fireside have to temporarily close its drop in service; moving to over-the-phone support for clients while social distancing measures are in place. As well as closing its drop-in centre, the charity is also challenged with plugging a funding gap after seeing a number of supporters withdraw funds due to economic uncertainty.

To kick off #SIFASurvives, SIFA Fireside has launched the Big Brummie Camp Out, which aims to get friends and families across Birmingham camping out under the stars. Focusing on the importance of “home”, the event will take place on the Early May Bank Holiday (Friday 8 May), with money raised ensuring that the charity can continue providing homeless and vulnerable adults access to key services such as showers and health clinics, while helping them to work towards a brighter future.

More than just pitching a tent up in the back garden, ‘campers’ are asked to donate a minimum £5 to SIFA Fireside in return for access to an exclusive digital download pack, filled with fun activities including a bread recipe from Sarehole Mill, a guide to moon phases from Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum and everything else needed for an evening under the stars. They will also be encouraged to share their photos and videos from the evening using #SIFASurvives on social media to raise further awareness for the charity and its appeal.

Carly Jones, Chief Executive of SIFA Fireside comments:

“The withdraw of some corporate support has a huge impact on us and we need to fill the gap, of course, but we also wanted to use what’s currently happening as a chance to bring people even closer together and promote positive messaging around what “home” really means. The Big Brummie Camp Out is about friends and families in isolation sharing a fun experience that also helps their community. Whether you’re camping in your garden or creating a living room den, you have the chance to not only have fun but secure the future of our charity.

We know that these are challenging times for everyone, and “home” has an even bigger importance than usual, as we all come together to support each other, our neighbours, and the wider community. This feeling of togetherness is what makes SIFA Fireside so unique; our team strives every day to create a space that helps people live healthy and fulfilling lives. The past few weeks have been really tough for us, especially since we have had to temporarily close our drop-in centre , but we remain dedicated to supporting our vulnerable clients over the phone and in partnership with other service providers.

The Big Brummie Camp Out will include a hosted live stream on the night, music performances, and the chance to share camping experiences on social media. SIFA Fireside Patron, Alex Claridge (The Wilderness), will also be providing recipes for the evening, and comments:

“There’s no doubt that Coronavirus has had a massive impact on us all but, even as we plan for the future of our own businesses, I’m mindful that we’re still extremely lucky to have homes to live in and food to eat. The prospect of a charity like SIFA Fireside no longer being able to deliver its work is unthinkable, and I’ll be doing all I can to help them reach their £50k target.”

Founded in the 1980s, SIFA Fireside was born from two charities coming together (The Fireside Charity and Supporting Independence From Alcohol (SIFA)) and focuses on supporting adults who are homeless and vulnerable by meeting their immediate needs as well as long-term, move-on support. Based in Digbeth, it runs a drop-in centre from Monday-Friday, which provides hot meals, showers, clothing, laundry, health clinics, and housing advice.

To find out how you can support SIFA Fireside and donate to the appeal, visit