Mobile Caring-Work: Volunteer homelessness outreach on the streets of Brighton & Hove (UK)

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Smith and Hall’s typology of movement and work offers a useful starting point for considering varied aspects of mobile work. However, this typology does not account for the multiple mobilities that comprise voluntary homelessness outreach projects. Soup kitchens, redistribution networks and grassroots outreach are an under-researched area, yet they are complex spaces of care operating within uneven geographies of homelessness. This article argues that informal care practices and conditions are significant in constituting this type of mobile work, which can be usefully contrasted against formal state-commissioned services. It does so through presenting findings from participatory walking interviews undertaken with volunteers providing informal care and support to people living on the streets of Brighton & Hove (UK). It argues that understanding volunteers’ experiences of the relationship between movement and work requires a relational understanding of care, which can be found in geographies of care, namely the care ecology framework of “caringscapes” and “carescapes”. The intersections of mobilities, work and care shaping volunteer outreach challenge existing frameworks. A refined conceptualisation of mobile caring-work is therefore needed, bringing together carescapes and mobilities literatures to open up interpretative possibilities and further advance our understanding of mobile work on the move.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Mobilities
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • mobilities
  • care
  • work
  • homelessness
  • volunteer
  • Mobilities
  • outreach
  • labour


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