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 : Nathalie Delahaye
A story by a positive practical person.
Homelessness has reached epic proportions, in many of our cities such as London its up 100% and in Manchester, it has risen 900%. The signs are obvious, the news reports are full of statistics about how many, and legislation and our shock, and how change needs to happen.
Many years ago, working to help people with barriers in to employment, I worked with 600 people, and then specifically with 120 young people who were out of work. Of them over 75 of them were “care leavers.” A term I had not heard of before.
After successfully getting an onward employment rate of 76%, and making sure each and everyone one of them had a home of their own. I stepped back, to look at why many of these care leavers, were in gangs, were young parents, were sofa surfing, were in abusive relationships, had debts and or issues with addiction.
It is estimated and widely reported that we have a high level of NEET in the UK, it’s around 14%. If you are a regular child.
However, 40% of care leavers are classified as NEET. Over a quarter of all NEETs are care leavers, yet they only make 1% of the population!
Another fact for you, 70% of sex workers were in care.
Shelter estimates that 30% of those who are homeless were in care, but we are certain this is more like 45% overall, and around 75% of those currently between 16-25 who are homeless. The reason that figure is higher than the official stats, one simple and yet idiotic rule. If a young person loses their property (for whatever reason) they are classed as making themselves ‘intentionally homeless’, and this means they are not counted in the ‘Official’ estimate.
What is the cost of not caring you ask? It is not just unemployment rates and cost, there are the criminal, social service and health costs. The University of York quoting that the cost of a care leavers negative journey is £337,204.00 over their lifetime.
So there are some of the issues, which face young people, and also their corporate parents. But what’s the solution.
Best place to start after doing the research of a lifetime, I went straight to the young people I helped with employability, I asked the experts. They know what they didn’t get and what they needed.
So was born Roar Pursuits CIC; a not for profit training deliverer. With a difference. We have developed ground breaking early interventional life hacks. Designed By Care Leavers, For Care Leavers. No other group of people know more about what skills they need. So all our material has been designed by them. We are the only Company in the UK using this user led approach.
Our programme delivers a unique peer to peer life skills training a programme to tackle the root causes of problems faced by vulnerable care leavers; focused on of course confidence and employability, but also mental health, trauma treatment, money and tenancy management, networking, online and offline presence, resilience, signposting, advocacy, in work support and business brokerage. As well as access to an app which will sign post them, post jobs to them and enable them a social media platform accessible 24/7, so if it’s 3am and they want help or advice, it is there.
We focus on the positives, working with the national See Potential campaign and make sure that our Pride, don’t see any reason to be held back, labelled or disadvantaged. The past is not their future, and I remind them that James Bond was a foster kid, Superman a foundling and Batman an Orphan.
We work with large charities, grass roots movements, private companies, local authorities and CCG's to make sure that we offer a complete wrap around services and holistic support; ensuring a Hand Up not a Hand Out. Enabling young people to start life with a Roar!
To find out more visit www.witharoar.com email email@example.com Launching Manchester October 2018.
Or if you would like to help with our indoor frontline provision events for the homeless
(yeh I like to be practical with that too; 4 course sit down meal, new clothes, haircuts, music bands, GP, benefits and housing advisors all coming together as a community to have fun and do good, #nobrainer) www.facebook.com/forkoffmcr/photos
Some quotes from nice clever practical people;
"The Care Leavers Association fully supports taking user-led approaches to improving the lives of care leavers. We recognise that more needs to be done to improve outcomes for care leavers and welcome this project." Care Leavers Association.
"I am excited and will watch keenly this proposed training program. The content is utterly appropriate; with a stepped approach, aimed at fully engaging care leavers, with wrap around support and accreditation at its conclusion. To date I am not aware of any other life skills training of this nature and would support its application and I would also like to encourage local authorities and partners to do so also." Mark Riddell MBE, National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers. Department for Education.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.