Tag Archives: Homelessness

My journey with Poached Creative

Pic: Tobias. Yousif Farrah outside the Poached Creative offices at Bootstrap.

Pic: Tobias. Yousif Farrah outside the Poached Creative offices at Bootstrap.

By Yousif Farrah

Poached Creative is a social enterprise communications agency, that puts creative jobs in reach for disadvantaged people. As their Volunteer Press Officer I can speak firsthand of how they make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Two years ago I was made homeless and had to drop out of University. It was at this time that I also experienced the loss of close relatives and life started to spin out of control. I ended up in prison and life seemed so bleak. I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

I genuinely believed that it was the end. Fortunately, upon my release from prison I began to receive support from homeless charity St Mungo’s Broadway and they told me about The Big Issue online journalism programme, which trains homeless and marginalised people in journalism and photography. Continue reading

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Michael House, stepping into the light

contemplating what is success

Pic: Jamie Derrick. Contemplating what success is.

By Melody

‘Rebuilding Lives’ is the maxim of Michael House, a hostel situated in Boscombe, Bournemouth. It provides needs for vulnerable people who require support and those who have a history of rough sleeping.  The house opened in 2000 and recently recorded its 500th resident.  The charity has been established for over 22 years and Michael House is due to celebrate its 15th anniversary on July 10th. Continue reading


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PHASES, renovating empty homes into affordable rentals


Glen Heaton, project manager at PHASES

By Rooney John

PHASES (People Housing and Social Enterprise Scheme) is a South London based social enterprise charity. Their main goal is to renovate disused properties in South London, using trainees that are marginalised, long term unemployed, ex-offenders or those who have experienced homelessness.

Set up in 2001 the charity was originally called Advocates for Homeless, providing advice and support to homeless people in South London. Speaking about the change of focus for the charity Glen Heaton, project manager at PHASES said: “We focused on advice for about five years then we realised a lot of homeless people had careers in construction and then had drug or alcohol problems and then there were empty properties that could be used as construction projects so putting the two together seemed bit of a no brainer.” Continue reading

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Profits from music single to support the Big Issue online journalists!

By Rooney John

Poached Creative received an unexpected but very welcome gift, from renowned blues artist Mete Ege, who decided to contribute all proceeds of his single Ghosts of London to the social enterprise.

Mete was inspired to generously support the social enterprise after meeting John Watts, a recent graduate of the Big Issue Online Journalism Programme; which helps homeless and unemployed people get a head-start in the creative industries. Continue reading

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90,000 children homeless this Christmas


Pic: Rebwar. Greenwich resident Claudia thinks the Government needs to do more to address child homelessness in the UK.

By Rooney John

This Christmas around 90,000 children and teenagers will be homeless, according to homeless charity Shelter. While few will be on the streets many will be spending the festive season in B&B establishments and other temporary accommodation.

A report by Homeless Link said, local authorities could be doing more to prevent these youngsters from becoming homeless in the first place, with councils preventing homelessness amongst young people in just 19% of cases. While family mediation can be effective in supporting young people to stay at home, yet nearly a quarter of councils still do not offer this service.

Homeless charity Shelter says the only solution is to build more homes, while Homeless Link says rather than send them children to B&Bs councils need to make more effort to keep young people at home, or offer more suitable temporary accommodation. Continue reading

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Sleep Out to raise money for homeless charity

Centrepoint Sleep Out 2014By Rooney John

More than 1,000 sleepers from across the country will be braving the elements to raise funds for homeless charity Centrepoint, on Thursday 6th November 2014.   Sleep Out will raise much needed donations that will be used to help some of the 80,000 youngsters experiencing homelessness every year. 

Sara Cox and Richard Madeley will be the main hosts in a night of fun, food and entertainment planned for sleepers in Bradford, Sunderland and London.

To find out more about Centrepoint and how they are helping to give homeless young people a future visit their website

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Students at St Mungo’s Recovery College find renewed satisfaction in learning

stmungoslogoStudents of the Recovery College often find a renewed satisfaction in learning, especially those affected by serious problems earlier in life, according to Matthew Burstein, the college’s administrator in Southwark, London.

The college is open to everyone; including St Mungo’s clients, volunteers, staff and the general public. By breaking down the barriers between students the college helps liberate those locked into the identity of being homeless and in need. The college is about equality and as long as the students bring a willingness to learn, it provides the rest.

The courses are designed to be educational rather than therapeutic, with the approach to recovery focusing on people’s skills and the future rather than their problems. Speaking with the Big Issue Online Journalists Matthew said: “The students set their own goals and the onus of attending the courses is placed upon them. People start to feel like valuable members of society when they start attending the college. This is because they start to feel like they are working towards achievable goals. This in turn starts to make them feel motivated.”

Some of the students that have attended the college have gone onto attend other institutions of further education and in some cases employment. Matthew says the aim of the college is not to push clients into education and employment, rather enable them to feel empowered enough to set and achieve their own goals. The college allows its clients to take part in any aspect of the college such as tutor, student or volunteer.

By promoting equality and focusing on people’s abilities rather than their problems the Recovery College creates a real sense of community and this is reflected in how previous students often return to St Mungo’s to run courses and workshops, or to share their skills and experiences as a volunteer.

Currently in its second year The Recovery College is funded by St Mungo’s, one of Britain’s largest charities supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. To find out more about St Mungo’s Recovery College visit their website.

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Crisis welcomes guests for Christmas

Salim playing cards with Crisis Volunteers

Pic: Courtesy of Crisis

The number of rough sleepers in London has nearly doubled since 2009, with almost 6500 estimated to be in the capital this Christmas. To help tackle this issue Crisis, a national charity dedicated to ending homelessness, opens day centres and night shelters across London every Christmas.

This years ‘Crisis at Christmas’ was the busiest yet, with almost 4000 people visiting the centres over the festive season. This could not have happened without its 9000 amazing volunteers, who helped give people the chance to access services and facilities across the capital.

Volunteers – who range from hairdressers, to washer-uppers and doctors – are the charity’s front line of support over Christmas and help to deliver the charity’s objective of breaking the cycle of homelessness; by using their wide ranging skills to offer food, companionship, entertainment, hairdressing, massage and  general health and advice services.

Art Wall

Artwork on display at the South East London Day Centre.

On Sunday 29 Dec, The Big Issue Online Journalists were at the South East London Day Centre. Alison, an arts and crafts tutor, who has been volunteering at Crisis for Christmas for 16 years told us: “It makes you feel great when people appreciate what you do. I really think you get as much out of it as they receive.” Adding, “I am always amazed at the talent and skills of the people who come into the centre. I think it is wonderful that they get the space and materials to create some amazing work, as this really helps them gain in confidence and realise their potential.”

As well as bringing a wealth of human experience and talent many guests also carry a wide range of needs and issues. George, a pensioner, loved the food and was most appreciative of being able to see a free dentist, as being homeless can make registering with medical practitioners very difficult.

For many it is the health provision at Crisis for Christmas that helps them the most. Over tea and a mince pie in the communal eating hall Carmel, who is disabled, said: “I could have my eyes, ears and teeth checked all at one time, struggling back and forth between services can be a big challenge for me”.

Bernadette, who had just enjoyed a massage and is delighted with her new haircut, first attended a Crisis centre 3 years ago. Since that time Bernadette said she has made a number of new friends, adding: “the social contact [that the centre provides] has really helped me overcome my isolation.”

Bernadette makes a strong point. With live music, people chatting, playing chess and generally socialising, there is a real sense of togetherness and belonging at the centre this Christmas.

To find out about the great work Crisis does all year round visit their website

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