Warding off evil/winter bugs

I’d love to know the story behind these three cloves of garlic.  Is the person who put them there a believer that garlic fends off evil spirits, or were they embracing the health benefits to ward off bugs in this bitterly cold weather?

I came across them on one of Southwark’s estates when out with St Mungo’s outreach team in the borough.  People often sleep behind the pillars on the estate’s stairwells.

With temperatures dropping below freezing, St Mungo’s and other organisations are working hard to provide severe weather emergency shelter for homeless men and women, to get them off the streets and into emergency accommodation.  I was out twice last week with the outreach team in Southwark, who were out looking for known rough sleepers, following up on new referrals and taking them to the Mayor-funded emergency shelter run by St Mungo’s.

Adam Rees manages St Mungo’s outreach teams across London. He said ‘Cold weather really is a time when different local organisations, from councils, to charities, to church shelters and many others, work together to ensure that we can help as many people as possible.”

One of the women I am working with told me about one occasion a few years back when she was rough sleeping in weather like this. It was about four in the morning and she was walking the streets, in just a t-shirt and trousers, unable to sleep because of the cold. She knocked on doors asking for a blanket, desperate to find some warmth.  In the end she smashed a window so that she would get arrested and taken to prison where she would get a roof over her head.  That’s how she got warm that night.

To find out more about help being offered to rough sleepers in these sub-zero temperatures, please visit this link.

If you are worried about someone you have seen rough sleeping in London, email streetconcern@mungos.org, or complete this online referral form.


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