Audiences are being invited to be “informed and inspired” at an open forum on homelessness in Warwick district as Leamington’s first festival dedicated to the issue gets underway.
The Left Out In the Cold: Life On The Streets two-month festival was launched by a keynote address at All Saints’ church yesterday evening (Thursday) - and next Tuesday at 7.30pm (March 11), the parish church is hosting an open forum entitled ‘Not just a roof over our heads’ between seven key figures involved in homelessness in the district and chaired by church vicar Christopher Wilson.
Sharing their experiences of homelessness and the wider problems of drug and alcohol addiction, debt, relationship breakdown and abuse, will be: Jonathan Chilvers of the Leamington-based drop-in and advice service the Way Ahead Project; Steph Devlin of the Leamington Christian Mission, which provides hot food to people from a volunteer-run bus; Leamington town centre Big Issue vendor Wil Crowder; Margaret Moore of Leamington Night Shelter; John Whitwam of Warwick District Council’s housing department; Paul Urmston of addiction support organisation ESH Works (Experience, Strength, Hope); and Maria Fennell of Springfield MIND.
Following short summaries from each speaker about what they do, the ‘floor’ will be opened out to questions and discussion.
Festival organiser Margaret Middleton said: “We are loking forward to lots of participation. The idea is to get the people of Leamington and surrounding areas to get engaged with the idea of homlessness and to be inspired to get involved in these grassroots organisations.”
Festival events are ongoing throughout March and April, alongside an exhibition of the Charlotte 22, Robson 46 sculpture by Ginnie Morris that inspired the festival and photography by Josh King. To find out more, visit allsaintsleamington.org.uk