Leaves are on the autumnal turn from emerald to rust and dog walkers are exercising their pets along a path shared by runners and people cycling.

It's a typical busy Glasgow park scene - but just feet from all this everyday activity, carefully hidden away in the trees, is a small black tent that someone calls home.

Volunteers from the Simon Community Scotland's Street Cycles team are here to check up on just one of the rough sleepers they routinely visit and offer support to.

This man has been living in a main Glasgow park for eight years, preferring to sleep there than come inside.

Anna, a Street Cycles volunteer, is concerned about the drop in temperature and how the man will keep himself safe and warm.

He tells her, however, he has spent "eight winters" in this park and does not plan to go anywhere else.

The homelessness charity has offered the man support multiple times, particularly during the pandemic when there was a concerted push to bring rough sleepers indoors in the interests of public health and safety.

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In Glasgow, five people refused accommodation and continued to sleep outside - this man was one of them.

As we cycle through the park Anna has her eyes peeled for a nearby tree stump she uses as a wayfinder to the man's tent.

Otherwise, no one would know he was there. The charity is in touch with his sister; he has family who care about him but he chooses not to stay in touch.

Craig Kirk, Street Cycles Coordinator, says the charity tried to offer different accommodation options in the hope one might suit, but all were refused.

"We offered, for example, a room with an empty room on either side so that he didn't feel crowded and felt a sense of space around him but it wasn't what he wanted," Craig said.

"We have to meet him on his own terms. We have raised concerns with social work, who are also involved, but there's limits to what can be done."

"We are here if he needs us, and that's all we can do," Craig adds.

This is the first stop on the shift, which sets off from the charity's new cycle hub on King Street in Glasgow's Merchant City.

The Street Cycles team has been on the go in various iterations since 2017 but now has a fixed base on King Street that is designed like a bike cafe with comfy sofas, shelves of books and a bike maintenance workshop.

The books are part of the Street Reads programme, which takes books into the community for people who may not access libraries but who love to read.

One man they help, Craig says, describes books as "his life" so it is incredibly satisfying for volunteers to assist him with that.

Earlier, back in the hub, Anna and Craig first packed up their panniers with period products, warm hats and scarves and IEP - injecting equipment provision.

As well as being practical products for supporting people living on the streets, the items work as much as a way of connecting with them.

Anna details the issues of language barriers and how tricky it gets sometimes handing out period products using Google translate.

The IEP includes sterile equipment for smoking drugs and injecting drugs and the team is trained to dispense and record it all, as well as being trained in administering Naloxone , a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.

Craig said: "We carry different gauges of needle people ask for. There’s a high propensity of drug use within the homeless population so it’s about reducing harm for people and keeping them as safe as possible."

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Anna added: “It’s a point of contact with people. We’ve been cycling through town and people have flagged us down – ‘Hey, Simon Community, Simon Community’.

“Possibly they wouldn’t have spoken to us otherwise but this is the way in.”

Street Cycles also provides support and advocacy towards accommodation, harm reduction in terms of alcohol and other drugs, and health and finances, and linking people in with the charity's main hub.

The team has electric cargo bikes that can be used to carry heavier or larger items when necessary - or to help people move home.

Craig said: "On Glasgow hills you need these big batteries.

"We have helped move people’s stuff from hostel accommodation to hostel accommodation.

"It's always great when we can help someone like that, when they’ve been asked to move and they’re without their possessions.

"The council should provide assistance but it doesn’t always happen."

There are nuances to what support is provided and when, such as handing out sleeping bags, which can result in people staying out longer to beg. The nights are drawing in darker earlier so Anna checks the bike lights are fully charged while she fills her panniers.

Street Cycles shifts have certain busy areas they routinely check - such as Victoria Road in Glasgow's south side or Byres Road in the west end - but they respond to calls of concern that come into the free telephone hotline.

Anna calls these "special missions".

She said: "You come in, you read the shift report, we chat to Craig and he tells us if there’s anything specific we should know. As we’re getting more integrated and our profile is raising we are getting more “special missions”.

"More often we get specific reports – somebody in Cardonald Cemetery, we’ve had a report there’s somebody in a close in Bellahouston, there’s somebody in Newlands Park.

"It’s really enhanced my geography of Glasgow. You should see the places we’ve had street picnics."

Anna says she is surprised at how receptive people are to being approached.

When we set off on our route for the evening Craig and Anna see people sitting in doorways or just out on the pavement and often know their names.

For some, when they stop to chat they're told by the person that they don't need any support but the team stays to chat a little longer, to double check.

Like the man in the park, not everyone wants help.

Craig tells of another gentleman they visit. He said: "You go back time and again but he doesn’t want the support.

"His barriers are up, but it’s about being there for that one time that he might be receptive to help. It doesn’t always happen.

"Unfortunately in this case, he moved on, which can happen in this sector, and we don’t know where he moved on to.

"We hope there’s a network out there where he goes to next."

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Another visit is to a man who recently received a new sleeping bag and Craig wants to check he's actually using it.

Near Glasgow Royal Infirmary, underneath a motorway bridge and well hidden from passersby, is a mattress where another man is living.

Craig and Anna say he speaks French, so communication is tricky, but they want to check up on him and see if there's anything he needs.

He's not at home but they survey the site, knowing that the next shift will be back to check on him too.

We also visit several injecting sites in case anyone needs IEP and Craig checks out a spot where he had earlier seen a sleeping bag, just in case it's a rough sleeper.

It is cold, dark and starting to rain and we've covered many miles in the course of the shift.

"The real difficulty sometimes is knowing how little you can help," she says. "We do a debrief at the end and we think, ‘Did we do any good that shift?’ "We come back and say we’ve ridden around for four hours in the Simon Community branding, we’ve given out some IEP, we’ve chatted to a couple of folk who maybe wouldn’t have had a compassionate conversation with anyone else.

"So we always feel something good has come out of the shift, even if it’s not a huge thing.

"Quite often you can’t do anything for them, they don’t want IEP, they don’t want help. People have got long, sad stories.

"You listen for a bit and when you go, they say thanks and you have done some good."