Charity outreach worker awarded honorary degree by University of Leicester

Posted by pt91 at Feb 01, 2018 11:56 AM |
Patrick Harris receives Doctor of Laws honour for charitable works with the homeless community in Leicester

Patrick Harris, an outreach worker for Leicester-based charity, The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope has received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Leicester for his work with the city’s homeless community.

The University of Leicester bestowed the honorary degree at its graduation ceremony on 26 January 2018 at De Montfort Hall in Leicester.

Commenting on his honorary degree, Patrick Harris said: “I’ve never had anything like this before and it came as quite a shock, to be honest. I feel very honoured that people appreciate the work that I’m doing.

“I would like to thank my Board, the local organisations and everybody that has supported me and continues to fund the great work that we do. I would especially like to thank my wife Barbara, who has supported me throughout.”

Patrick Harris was born in Leicester and grew up in Highfields along with five siblings. In 1999 he found himself to be homeless for almost half a year and during that time, he attended a hostel where he met a manager of Christian faith who inspired him to join an Alpha course. He began to explore Christianity in more detail.

In 2010, divine intervention encouraged Patrick to walk into the Methodist Church on Bishop Street where the homeless charity, The Bridge, was based. Patrick engaged with the homeless people visiting the charity and became a regular volunteer. He is now Team Leader and Outreach Worker for The Bridge, a role which involves visiting the homeless people across the city from 3.30am onwards and informing them about services they can access through the charity including, breakfast provision, medical help and accommodation support.

Patrick believes that his personal experience with homelessness helps him in this role because he knows first-hand how isolating it can feel without the right support. He finds his work at The Bridge fulfilling because the heart of its mission is to provide support and guidance to the homeless so that they can get their lives back on track. Some of Patrick’s favourite working moments have been when previously homeless people return to the charity to tell how they’ve turned their lives around.

Steve Owen, Chair of The Bridge - Homelessness to Hope commented: “We’re delighted that Patrick has been rewarded for his invaluable contribution to supporting Leicester’s homeless community. His dedication to the outreach role is outstanding and this recognition by the University of Leicester is very well deserved.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Paul Boyle, added: “Leicester has played a pivotal role in the lives of all our honorands this year and in celebrating their successes we are honouring the great work they have done that has reflected well upon our city and county.

“They are ideal candidates to inspire our graduands as they celebrate their own achievements and take the next step towards their ambitions.”

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope charity is run by over 60 volunteers plus three part- and full-time staff, and has been helping homeless people to turn their lives around since 2009. For more information, visit

For further media information, please contact:

Simon Gribbon (on behalf of The Bridge - Homelessness to Hope)


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