The Point
Last updated: 05 March 2020. sky thinking for an open and diverse left

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The Invisibles


Dermot Hill is a 56 year old Railway Engineer who works night-shift on the tracks. Homelessness is a problem that he has seen first hand for many years, particularly in the past few years after the financial crash of 2008 with many facing job loses and massive cuts to the welfare they receive from the government. Rising rent prices and a lack of social housing have also contributed to the problem we are facing. In this article, Dermot explains the setting up of a group designed to help combat homelessness.


We all saw the money being spent on the Commonwealth Games. So much for austerity! It was bad timing by GCC and although I won't get too political, public money could have been far better spent than homeless spikes to prevent the homeless sleeping in certain areas. How cruel can we be to one another? Hopefully the public outcry will make companies think twice before putting them down again.


The Invisibles came about after a couple of blogs I put out on The Celtic Network (I don't know if they were blogs or more like rants!). Due to the nature of my job working at night I see the plight of the homeless, people from the group got in touch with me and said "let's do something about this" and so the Invisibles were born.

The group is made up of a mixture of people from a range of different jobs and professions. Holding down jobs, people trying to find babysitters, changing shifts etc. they gave up so much of their precious time in order to help this cause and yet not a moan from anyone (Except maybe me, I'm famous for it). Our first meeting was in a pub which was a bad idea, far too noisy. Then out of the blue we were offered a room to hold our meetings and what a difference that has made. We have been able to make great progress just down to having a good room to work from.

Now, down to what our aim is. We are not going to eliminate the homeless problem but we wish to help charities that are on the front line of helping. We want to supply those charities with sleeping bags, clothing etc. The problem is not just homelessness but fuel poverty where people are scared to turn their heating on due to the exorbitant charges made by the power companies which this government allows with no problem. Profit before people. But as I touched on earlier, now we have another problem appearing  in various places. Spikes. Yes, spikes. What kind of society allows spikes to be put up in certain locations to deter people from sleeping rough there, people who already have an uncomfortable night ahead. Well people in Glasgow saw what we did with them. We removed them ourselves and we will carry on removing them.  We are not a vigilante group but we try to be a humane one.

Our first collection was at Easter where we got involved with the Church of the Nazarene whose collection was superb. We donated their collection to the Wayside Club who were very grateful of the donation and a special thanks to the Church of the Nazarene and the Parkhead housing association who let us store the stuff we collected. So now the big one. T in the Park. All I can say is wow! This was a late call, we had nothing prepared but after a few phone calls we had leaflets to hand out to all the troops heading up to TITP and we explained to them what we were doing. The young were totally engaged with what we were doing. Some had seen us on Twitter and Facebook which proves that social media can be a real force for good. Now the proof in the pudding was the response when the revellers returned. All I can say is the response was fantastic to say the least (or as they say in USA “awesome”). Over the weekend nearly a thousand sleeping bags collected and most washed and distributed within 3 days. The people who attended TITP gave willingly and were very keen to help us. I was totally amazed.

We have so many people to thank, especially David Bateman  and Gerry Hassan at STV plus the Riverside Show for giving our group such positive publicity. Another special thanks goes to Ginny Clark at who gave us our initial coverage, Willie Brown at The Celtic Network for putting out my blogs on his site which led to the group getting together and thanks to all the people who turned up at the CSA on London road who helped sort out and wash the bags that were collected. Also thank you to our group who have put up with my moaning over the last 9 months and finally a big huge thanks to all those who have donated. Puts ones faith back in our fellow man.

Oh and to my wife who has been abandoned during this time. I promise I'll make it up.

The group has moved from strength to strength in such a short period of time. We may not be the biggest but as long as we do our bit, we can always make a difference.

To find out more about The Invisibles, you can find them on twitter

External links:

Bella Caledonia

Bright Green

George Monbiot

Green Left


The Jimmy Reid Foundation

Laurie Penny

New Left Project

Newsnet Scotland

Richard Dawkins

Scottish Left Review

Socialist Unity

UK Uncut

Viridis Lumen

Wings Over Scotland

Word Power Books