Youth group launch project to help the homeless in Leamington

Hollie Hutchings and Gary Timlin (youth workers) with socks for the homeless
Hollie Hutchings and Gary Timlin (youth workers) with socks for the homeless

Young people from Warwick District's Youth Forum have mounted a charity and research campaign to understand the issues behind homelessness and help those affected.

Following advice from the leaders of Leamington’s Night Shelter members of the local Youth Forum conducted a survey during the town’s Peace Festival.

As well as garnering comments and opinions the forum, which consists of members of VOX and youth parliament, also decided to collect donations to help provide essentials to those in need.

A forum spokesman said: “Anybody and any young person can become homeless, especially if someone is supported less by a ‘family network’. The statistics are shocking so we need to act. We are going to fight homelessness together, one step at a time. We will have given 200 pairs of socks out to the Night Shelter this month. Next month, we are planning to participate in the Coventry SleepOut which will demand attention to this huge problem, homelessness, a problem that is not invisible.”

Of the 47 responses to the survey, nine said they had been at risk of becoming homeless. When asked how they might help a homeless person, 28 said they’d give money, three said food and 15 said nothing, preferring to support charities or fearing cash would go on drugs. People called for more housing, more government help and some suggested more holistic support, like the Finnish model where homelessness is dropping, as opposed to the UK, where it is soaring.

The spokesman added; "Here, over the past five years, the number of homeless people either dying on the streets or in temporary accommodation has more than doubled according to recent reports. This means on average, more than one homeless person in the UK dies every week. In the Guardian it has been reported that “the average age of a rough sleeper when they die is 43, about half the UK life expectancy”. Since 2010 homelessness in Finland has fallen by 35 per cent, in the UK, it has increased up to 134 per cent. And one in five young people are homeless. There is something going wrong."