Welcome to the BEAR A WITNESS campaign.
We are not asking you to fund, donate or volunteer. What we are encouraging everyone to do is to show an act of kindness to a homeless rough sleeper who you may see on your journeys in your everyday lives. This could be by offering a cup of coffee, a sandwich, stopping for a chat or even just a smile. Our aim is to continue creating awareness of rough sleeping and mental health issues to all, especially the younger generation. There are a lot of people already showing this love on the street and we will like to use this blog to highlight these stories and encourage more people to get involved.
There are some people who don't feel comfortable making direct contact with homeless rough sleepers for a number of reasons. All over the world, there are facilities that exist to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public through an App or a phone number to connect people sleeping rough to the local services that can support them. In England and Wales, this Service exists as StreetLink. If anyone is concerned about someone sleeping rough, they can use this service to send an alert via the App or by calling StreetLink. We will be publishing a list of these services as they exist in other countries so watch this space.
Homelessness is a huge issue on a global scale and with a sense of community spirit and Acts of Kindness, we can make eradicating homelessness a reality.
THE SPECIAL GUEST CORNER
Guest Writer of the Week : Fred Scarfe
alcoholawareness and Fred Scarfe located in the City of Surrey,BC Canada is a non profit public health and safety researcher and advocate specializing in Alcohol diseases and conditions,and it's effects on Society as a whole.
There are over 60 diseases/200 conditions related to Alcohol consumption,ranging from numerous Cancers,like Breast and colon Cancers and more,Liver diseases such as cirrhosis ,heart and stroke,birth harms such as FASD and more-We refer to it as the deadliest and most abused drug and 'Gateway" drug.The harm and costs to Society are staggering-Many still unaware that any Alcohol,including wine,beer or spirits are confirmed Group 1 carcinogens,meaning substance known to cause Cancer-We are devoted to bring much needed education and awareness and along with Worldwide partners calling for Governments and Health and entire communities to take National action,as has been done with tobacco and smoking. In regards to our homeless and poverty.Alcohol again is a major contributor. For example in Canada at any given time-There are hundreds of thousands that are living sheltered-ie in emergency shelters- 'Unsheltered -Living on the streets and 'doubled' up living with family or friends temporarily. Unfortunately.many are chronic users of Alcohol and other drugs-Many started drinking at a young age. As we know this dependency has led to many being homeless-The addiction can take over their lives affecting absence from work and unemployment,neglecting essential expenses like rent or mortgages,food and other expenses.Many partners,women and children are seriously affected as well.In a lot of cases Trauma in their lives led to addiction.This cycle can repeat itself over and over again through generations. Canadians for example can spend thousands each year on Alcohol and Alcohol related expenses,such as transportation etc. There was an article done on this entitled-'Drinking away our savings" For those on the lower income scale can easily lead to being on the streets. Interesting note-'Prohibition" back in the 1920's came from Women's movement due to the men drinking heavy and spending all the money,leaving the women and children to suffer. Now through years and years of Big Alcohol having a free hand in marketing and spending billions to target men and women,and children in the normalization of drinking.all in the pursuit of profits over lives-It's gone from 'prohibition' to really an epidemic and crisis. As you mentioned Ed significant stigma is attached to the homeless.poverty and addiction-We believe this has been improving to remove shaming and blaming.which has caused many not to seek help. There is no doubt that this requires not only Governments,which of course is we the taxpayers and Healthcare,Non Profits and entire country to act for more programs and services and supports to deal with this.Many who are addicted also have other issues like mental health etc that require special services and expertise. In regards to Alcohol we certainly require more harm reduction,treatment options and 'prevention' -We have noticed that a lot of the Alcohol abuse with older generation and younger people drinking but also trying other drugs,opioids being a serious concern. We continue to press Government's and politicians to rethink their ties and promotion of Alcohol and take the same action as was successful in addressing and reducing smoking rates.We believe they are undermining public health and safety and lives,including poverty and homelessness. They are mandated to promote and support Healthy communities and are contradicting this with enabling more Alcohol.I hope Ed this will be somewhat helpful though there is much more information always available- Sincerely- F.A Scarfe- Director of JMF Research BC Canada
We will be highlighting the works of a Special Guest Writer every week. This could be a Story, Poem or just some Words of encouragement. email us on email@example.com or in the message section if you would like to be a guest writer.
The Bear A Witness Story
Bear a Witness was inspired by a conversation with a homeless man on a cold street of London a week before Christmas 2016. I spent some time chatting with this very lovely homeless gentleman who through a series of unfortunate events and twist of fate had been living on the streets for the last 4 years. He, unfortunately, passed away not too long after our meeting. The song Bear A Witness pays homage to this gentleman and the struggles on the street as a homeless person.
In order to capture the reality of the homeless situation, we decided to shoot the video in a real-life environment near Dalston Station in East London, which is renowned for homeless sleeping. The director thought it would be a good idea to leave me sitting in position for 30 min with no camera in sight just to get into character. Passersby had no idea I was shooting a video. People either looked straight through me or at me with pity or disgust. It was a total eye-opener.
Eradicating homelessness is above my pay grade but I can and will do all I can to support the governments and charities. What I can do through music and with your help is to change the perception on how we react to the homeless. All profits from this single are being donated to the Shelter charity but with the way music is consumed these days the real success is not on the sale but rather the message. I would rather have someone show an act of kindness to a homeless person than download the single.
1000’s of people have confirmed that as a result of this video they have engaged with a homeless person which makes it all worthwhile.
Just a chat and cup of tea with a homeless person goes a long way. Even if we can’t afford a cup of tea, just a chat makes so much of a difference. With your help, we will make that change.
I initially said that if as a result of this song and video, even one person showed an act of kindness towards a homeless person then it would have been worth writing it. With your help let’s make this a million people.
We are proud to have the support of a number of passionate, high-profile celebrity supporters.
Greg Wood - (Actor inc Hollyoaks) Nicole Barber Lane ( Actress inc Hollyoaks) Miss Grace J Teale (Model) Laura Alicia (Ex On The Beach) Melissa Cole (UK leading Beer judge) Adam Dandy (Co-founder of Chester Homeless Charity) Daniel Stewart (Actor including Star Trek) Jeremy Sheffield (Actor inc Hollyoaks) Matthew Ryder (Deputy Mayor of London) Gwen Lowe (Deputy Mayor of Kirklees) Natalie Rowe (Author) Fox Fisher Co-creator My Genderation, Les Dannis (TV Presenter) George Clarke (British Architect) George Clinton (American singer) Donna Deeney (Belfast Telegraph Journalist) Donna Air (Media personality including Dancing On Ice) Soul Clap (American DJ and production duo) GIGGS (Rapper) Tina-Marie Miller (Author – Every Thing Happened For A reason) Chris Mason (Professional Darts Player) Jack Collison (Footballer) Clare Hepworth OBE (Conservative Party) Neville Southall (Footballer) Carleen Anderson (Singer) Gillian Hamill (Film Producer) Danny John-Jules (Actor in Red Dwarf) Cheryl Fergison (Actress inc EastEnders) Gigi Cesare (Actress) Faye Brookes (Actress inc Coronation Street) Ryan Thomas (Actor including Coronation Street) Stanley Cohen (FBA was a sociologist and criminologist,) Brooke Lewis (Actress) Alice Lowe (Actress) Jane Badler (Actress) Perez Hilton (American blogger) Josh Devine (Drummer – including One Direction) Danielle Lloyd (Glamour Model) Nitin Ganatra (Actor inc EastEnders) Annette Badland (Actress) Helen Lederer (Comedian) Mandy Baggot (Writer) Rozalla (Singer) DJ Cool V (Hip-hop DJ) Reggie Mills (Musical artist) Jason Watkins (Actor) Wiley (Recording Artist) DJ Semtex (DJ) Charlie Edwards (Boxer) Colin Fletcher (Fighter) Aaron Chalmers (TV Actor) Daniel Whiston (Figure skater) Nadel Paris (Artist) Greg Roberts (Musician) Marc Zammit (Actor) Sharon Davies MBE (Swimmer) Clodagh McKenna (Author) Dave Pearce (DJ)
...........and the list keeps growing.