This week is the UK’s first Homelessness Awareness Week, a series of events in Bedford to highlight awareness of the challenges facing homeless people, the charities helping then and break the stigma attached to the homeless community.
One of these events is an art exhibition in the Riverside Square Pavilion, behind St Paul’s Square, until 2nd December. Pieces on display will come from residents at YMCA Bedfordshire, Emmaus Village Carlton, Bedford Women’s Refuge and the King’s Arms Project, as well as former rough sleepers.
Sam Price, Homeless Inter-Agency Officer for Bedford put the week long event together after finding our that there was no initiative of its kind in the UK: “We have events like refugee and mental health awareness week, all noble causes, but nothing similar for homeless people and I wanted to change that.”
Now Homelessness Awareness Week will host and support a series of events to help remove the stigma that homeless people face while also raising funds and awareness for charities and organisations set up to help them.
Sam adds that the exhibition will have far reaching positive impact: “It’s not just about showcasing the incredible pieces that these guys have produced” said Sam. “Art can be really therapeutic as well, and for people who have suffered trauma, it can have a hugely positive impact on their wellbeing and mental health.”
VIDEO: Adam, a former rough sleeper, has found a talent in his art and says that since he started painting he’s had some positive focus and people are looking at him differently. Sam Price also explains why she set up Homelessness Awareness Week.
More information about the Bedford Homeless Partnership and Homelessness Awareness Week can be found at their website.