Supported by all churches, Homeless Sunday is a day of raising awareness and challenging the causes of homelessness in the United Kingdom. Homeless Sunday has been marked since the mid-1990s and it’s a way for the churches and congregations alike to demonstrate solidarity.
On Monday 25th January, the YOU Trust attended Festival Place in Basingstoke, armed with a stand, leaflets, balloons and cupcakes. The stand was occupied by Nicol Chidwick, the Deputy Manager of May Place House, a direct access homeless hostel managed by The YOU Trust. Joining Nicol for the day were May Place House staff Fay Aubrey, an Outreach Worker, and Steve Gartland, a Support Worker.
The team engaged with many members of the public, some of who had themselves experiences of homelessness. Some of the people who stopped by had little understanding of rough sleeping and were keen to discuss the issues as a whole with YOU’s team of experts. It also became a hub for advice; the team were ready with information to signpost individuals towards avenues of support.
Those who met the team were very positive in their feedback. Comments were received saying that it was great that YOU were raising awareness about the situation, and that is was very useful to know who to approach if you are worried about someone or in that situation yourself.
Even retailers were interested, and were receptive to the issues being raised. Staff from Boots kindly handed out free toothpaste from the stand.
This event was indeed a success. Not only was awareness raised, it brought together the community to reflect on how people marginalised through homelessness should be helped.