Have you got Love for the Streets? How to help homelessness in creative ways
Following on from my last blog post (introducing myself and my general position as digital intern), I wanted to elaborate on Love for the Streets, an events and marketing campaign I run which takes up very minute of my spare time!
We realised that students generally tend to have a huge amount of free time, and coupled with a millennial desire to ‘make a difference’… we wondered why more students weren’t volunteering regularly at local charities. I had just started volunteering for the homeless charity Barnabus; I completely fell in love with the sessions, and wanted to make this experience accessible to others who might have wanted to volunteer, but not known how to access the charities. Students and young people like myself are fundamentally lazy, and I had waited until the opportunity to volunteer pretty much fell into my lap. Why wasn’t there an online group with information about how to access volunteer services? The idea for Love for the Streets was born – an events and marketing campaign which aims to get more young people engaged with issues of homelessness, and to mobilise them to volunteer for homeless charities. We use a range of educational and entertaining events, and have hosted 11 events in 8 months, only starting in September 2018! Ranging from club nights to raise revenue and ‘break through the noise’; conferences to discuss complexities of the issues and hear from charity workers; ‘real stories’ discussions to give a platform to people who have experienced homelessness; radio shows, art exhibitions, volunteer taster days, and selling our own Tee’s – safe to say we’ve covered a lot of bases and gained a lot of traction for the cause.
Our biggest event to date was at Whitworth Art Gallery, and was a huge exhibition showcasing 8 weeks of art, produced in workshops across homeless shelters in Manchester. The workshops were run by student volunteers, teaching recipients different art skills such as photography, graffiti, portraits, weaving and many more! It was an incredible amalgamation of ages, backgrounds and demographics, and we saw nearly 1,500 people through the doors. Seeing such a broad demographic united over a shared interest was incredibly inspiring, and we were inundated with people asking to get involved with the campaign. Essentially we had provided a platform to combat negative stereotypes about homelessness, as many general assumptions and myths about homelessness were dispelling by demonstrating the artistic and thoughtful process people went through to produce this work.
I couldn’t be prouder of the Love for the Streets team for what we have accomplished over the last few months – we also recently won the SU Best Campaign of the Year which was an amazing accolade! It’s been incredible watching this campaign grow, and we can’t wait for the years ahead to help develop further; to link more students with charities and to combat negative portrayals of people experiencing homelessness. We currently have three teams of new volunteers at local homeless charities, and interest is ever-growing!
It’s rewarding to be surrounded by like-minded individuals in High-Rise Comms, and working for a company whose ethos and values are so strongly in line with my own is incredibly refreshing. From working in a stuffy Northern Quarter restaurant to researching and developing ideas for a social value company, as well as having time for Love for the Streets campaign, I often wonder why I ever worked in hospitality! Good riddance!