Homelessness Awareness Week exhibition and journalism events at the Higgins

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This week at the Higgins Bedford, a gallery has been dedicated to the work of people who have experienced homelessness as part of a week of activity.

Organised as part of Homelessness Awareness Week (1 – 8 December), the exhibition is free to enter and runs until 15 December.

It features work by people with lived experience of homelessness and includes mixed media, including acrylics, oil, sculpture and photography. It was organised by artist Anne-Marie Abbate alongside Bedford Homeless Partnership.

In a collaboration with Fujifilm, single-use cameras were given to people affected by homelessness. The exhibition of the photographs gives a unique perspective on life on the streets of Bedford.

The exhibition was featured on BBC Look East yesterday (Wednesday 4 December), including interviews with Anne-Marie and Tom and Jason who took part in the photography project.

So proud of Jason, Tom, and poor Anne-Marie who I rang in a panic and almost forced to talk live on tv! And she’s proper poorly as well! ❤️

Posted by Samantha Price on Wednesday, 4 December 2019

As part of a week-long series of events, tomorrow sees the Bureau of Investigative Journalism hosting a live event at the Higgins Bedford to present the findings of their investigation into the housing crisis, followed by storytelling and discussion by people with experience of the issue in Bedford.

Reporter, Maeve McClenaghan, will talk about the Bureau’s recent series #LockedOut, which showed how the government’s landmark homelessness legislation is failing on the ground, and that families on housing benefit are priced out of nearly all homes in Britain.

The situation is particularly bad in Bedford, the Bureau found, where only a handful of available rental properties are affordable.

Read: Homelessness: 97.5% of rental properties in Bedford are unaffordable to those on benefits

Ricki Barton, a Bedford man with personal experience of long-term homelessness who is now a mentor at Community Led Initiatives, will tell his story following the presentation.

He will be joined by Mike Hyden, founder of the Bedford homelessness support organisation Just Us, and Erica Roffe, a journalist from the Bedford Independent who worked on the Locked Out investigation, for a discussion and Q&A.

They will talk about the obstacles that keep people in Bedford trapped in homelessness, and what can be done to address them.

This event is FREE but we ask that if you only book a place you intend to come, and if not that you release the place for someone else. We welcome everyone interested in the subject.

The Bureau Local is a collaborative journalism network of journalists, techies, community activists and reporters and concerned citizens who explore social issues from a local, grassroots level right up to the national. Its aim is to involve affected people and communities in the story gathering, and to spark positive change.


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