Charity

Crisis UK - Homelessness Charity Resources and Reports

Crisis Plan.png

I have been a volunteer with Crisis UK in Birmingham since February 2017. I am very impressed with their research and campaigning to end homelessness in the UK. They have a fantastic learning programme to help 'members' (our term for homeless individuals) get off the street, out of hostels, B&B's, sofa surfing, stop sleeping in cars and other places and back into employment and a decent house to live in.

I am creating this blog post with a series of links to reports and resources to assist anyone to understand homelessness better. This way I can just share this link and you can learn more by downloading the reports or listen to the radio programmes, watch the videos etc.

I hope the resources will prove useful for you and your friends and family to better understand the plight of the homeless and maybe you can share a few minutes to create awareness in your network and community, donate a few pennies, spend a few hours per month donating your time for the many charities that exist across the UK.  I appreciate your interest and curiosity to learn more. I will continue to add further resources as I become aware of them, so make sure to bookmark this page.

  1. Join the #everybodyin campaign and pledge your support.

  2. 10 year plan to end homelessness in the UK executive summary

  3. 10 year plan to end homelessness full report

  4. Rough sleepers’ experiences of violence and abuse on the streets of England and Wales

  5. An examination of the scale and impact of enforcement interventions on street homeless people in England and Wales

  6. The creation and use of better evidence for a world without homelessness - Centre for Homelessness Impact

  7. Understanding the models of Housing First in England

  8. The picture of Housing First in England

  9. About Housing First England (website)

  10. Homelessness and Addiction: Getting Clean & Off the Streets

  11. A home for as long as someone needs it, as well as meaningful work in our social enterprises, by Emmaus.

  12. The big idea that can help end homelessness.

  13. The Stingray, a model and platform to utilise and repurpose unused and derelict public houses.

 



Crisis at Christmas 2017

#endhomelessness I started as an event volunteer with Crisis UK, Birmingham Skylight in February 2017. I am learning about the plight of the homeless and appreciate a lot more about what happens at Crisis UK. Their Christmas event across the UK, is the largest single volunteer event in Europe (circa 11,000 in one day) and I am really looking forward to being part of it and supporting those less fortunate on Christmas Day. If you’d like to sponsor me for Christmas Day, please donate what you can afford, even if it’s the equivalent of the cost of a Costa or Starbucks? Thank you so much!

Just click the preview below to get to the virginmoneygiving.com donation page.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/michaeldegroot

So far I have been involved with the following events.

  1. 25th April, 2017 - 50th year event in Birmingham handing out flyers in the freezing cold, whilst videos playing on a massive screen just outside St. Philip’s Cathedral.
  2. 8th July, 2017 - Hodge Hill Carnival. Manning a stand where we were giving away in return for a donation knitted teddy bears and other characters.
  3. 12th July, 2017 - Member celebration event at Carrs Lane Church near Moor Street station Birmingham. Announcing the presenters and general volunteer.
  4. 5th September, 2017 - Joined ‘Volunteer Voices’, volunteer group at Birmingham Skylight, discussing volunteering, events and better information for volunteers, like the ‘Get the help you need’ cards for discussing with rough sleepers.
  5. 5th December, 2017 - Crisis member celebration at St. Martin’s Church Bull Ring, Birmingham, general volunteering.
  6. 25th December, 2017 - Reception duty, Serving food & refreshments, Cleaning / tidying duty, Setting up before guests arrive, Chatting with guests .

I am looking forward to continuing my volunteering journey in 2018 and I have some ideas of my own to highlight the plight of the homeless.

Instead of focussing on what I can buy myself for Christmas, my focus is on how can I help the homeless better.

I am grateful to Crisis for the amazing work they do and of course I appreciate too that there are many other charities working with the homeless, big 🙌 to all of them!

Michael de Groot

Together we will end homelessness

Our definition of ending homelessness

Following consultation across Britain with more that 400 homelessness experts, including 100 people with lived experience of homelessness, we have produced a definition of ending homelessness that give us tangible targets to measure the plan's progress against:

  • No one sleeping rough
  • No one forced to live in transient or dangerous accommodation such as tents, squats and non-residential buildings
  • No one living in emergency accommodation such as shelters and hostels without a plan for rapid rehousing into affordable, secure and decent accommodation
  • No one homeless as a result of leaving a state institution such as prison or the care system
  • Everyone at immediate risk of homelessness gets the help they need that prevents it happening

Streets of London - Crisis UK - Video

Crisis UK - Streets of London.png

Crisis UK

Buy the single on iTunes

https://twitter.com/crisis_uk #CrisisXmas #everybodyin #streetsoflondon

 

Have you seen the old man

In the closed-down market

Kicking up the paper

With his worn out shoes?

In his eyes you see no pride

Hand held loosely at his side

Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

 

So how can you tell me you're lonely

And say for you that the sun don't shine?

Let me take you by the hand and

Lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind

 

Have you seen the old girl

Who walks the streets of London

Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?

She's no time for talking

She just keeps right on walking

Carrying her home in two carrier bags

 

So how can you tell me you're lonely

And say for you that the sun don't shine?

Let me take you by the hand and

Lead you through the streets of London

I'll Show you something to make you change your mind

 

In the all night cafe

At a quarter past eleven

Same old man sitting there on his own

Looking at the world

Over the rim of his teacup

Each tea lasts an hour

And he wanders home alone

 

So how can you tell me you're lonely

Don't say for you that the sun don't shine

Let me take you by the hand and

Lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind

 

Have you seen the old man

Outside the Seaman's Mission

Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears

In our winter city

The rain cries a little pity

For one more forgotten hero

And a world that doesn't care

 

So how can you tell me you're lonely

And say for you that the sun don't shine?

Let me take you by the hand and

Lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind

Crisis UK

https://twitter.com/crisis_uk

Buy the single on iTunes

Will You be an E-MENTOR?

Student of economy Can you spare around an hour a week to be an E-MENTOR to help guide a 16-19 year old student on their path to a successful future?

I've been chatting with Diane Vernon,(http://www.linkedin.com/pub/diane-vernon/6/1a7/990), at Career Academies UK and she was telling me about their fantastic new programme called Career Ready. To work successfully they need to find willing volunteers to be E-MENTORS from the business world.

Mentoring is a crucial factor in helping a young person succeed in finding a job or place at University.

As an E-MENTOR you would communicate with a student via a new secure digital platform, as part of a structured programme. This eliminates the need to be located near your student or arrange meetings face-to-face. All E-MENTORS are DBS checked and trained by Career Academies UK.

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 13.56.25

You know the stats on unemployed young people in the UK, I don't need to remind you of that and if you've always thought of wanting to make a difference, you can do this now by contacting Diane Vernon at diane.vernon@careeracademies.org.uk or speak to her direct on 07786 170588.

You can read/download the full E-MENTOR pack by going to

http://styin.me/e-mentoringpack

Thank you for your support, I really appreciate it. I know this will be very rewarding for some of you.

I will be joining the programme myself!

Warmest regards and wishing you success always!

Michael 07866 471596

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 13.55.56

Would You Buy Me a Hot Chocolate?

20130818-192017.jpg If we met up would you buy me a Hot Chocolate?

You may or may not have seen that I’m doing the London to Brighton bike ride on Sept. 8th for charity. I'm an ambassador for KEMP Hospice in Kidderminster and I’m actively involved with some fundraising events.

So now I’m promoting my own! I am fundraising specifically for ’KEMP for Kids’. ’KEMP for Kids’ provides essential support for young people who have lost a loved one in their family.

The difference KEMP are making to these Kids is just amazing. So I decided to ride 54 miles and navigate across a massive hill in order to raise some pennies for this great cause.

998735_624531497580258_680639357_n

So instead of buying me that Hot Chocolate you can donate the price of one! The average Hot Chocolate I reckon costs about £2.50.

I'm really grateful for your support! By the way as part of my training for this event I have already cycled about 600 miles and it will probably be closer to 900 by the Sept.8th. So it maybe 54 miles on the day, it's the preparation that has clocked up the miles, together with some sore legs along the way.

Donate £2.50 via http://styin.me/kempbrighton

553056_10151748063495829_1971700290_n

Have You Ever Studied Ants?

flickr | samantha henneke I was recently in Greece and with temperatures in the 30’s, it's best to take it easy lie by the pool and observe the world around you, OK maybe people watch sometimes!

However even people watching gets boring, so whilst resting on my sun bed in the shade, I started studying the floor beneath me and to my amazement saw this fast moving highway of very small ants. Now usually in hot countries ants are very big, but these weren't and that made them all the more interesting.

As I studied them, I noticed that although their movements appeared random, many were carrying food crumbs back to their colony, which had entrances along a short section of a raised plant border wall. One by one several of these very efficient creatures were collecting these crumbs from all around the pool and taking this very important food stuff back to their colony.

By the way none of them actually ate the food on their journey back, which if you saw how far they were travelling, you would not have blamed them if they had. Now if this was a human doing this, ’collecting free food’, the chances are that it would have been eaten by the time they had completed the journey back.

I also noticed to my amazement that with larger crumbs 2 or even 3 ants would work together to carry it, as it was too big for just one.

This gave me an idea, next time someone in my party came back with cake at tea-time, I would use one of the crumbs and give those hard working ants a challenge. A super large crumb to see how they would manage this.

Have a look and see what happened, I recorded it on video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChZGj9BEQRk

What did I learn?

Ants are ’Team Players’, one ant who passes the crumb and checks it out, decides to start moving it and immediately another ant starts assisting, and then another and another until I counted 12 ants moving a massive crumb. Nobody said, ’that’s not my job’ or ’I’m busy doing something else, or ’its not in my job spec’. They just did it because they know that one ant will never manage it on their own and therefore they just started helping out. The ants who joined in just happened to be passing by, they weren't called from the colony, didn't get an email and nobody checked their calendar to see if they were available.

For me it was just the best possible demonstration of excellent team-work. Wow if business could learn just one lesson from ants and if employees and HR teams could stop their compartment thinking, what a different world we would have around us.

Each morning a few scouts would be up early looking for anything that they might have missed and as the day moved on and more holiday makers sat around the pool, eating and drinking, more ants came out scouting the neighbourhood. Obviously they had developed their knowledge that more crumbs would be available later in the day.

Accordingly more troops were scouting in the afternoon.

So here are 3 takeaways from this story:

  1. Be open to helping out anyone in your wider community or organisation, without being asked for help, ’Just Do It’.
  2. If there is a big task or project happening, go and ask if you can help out. They probably will say ’no thanks’ but make sure you insist, even if it is to make the coffee!
  3. Teach your kids or colleagues the power of team work and share the story of ants. I found this great film on YouTube, which will explain and share the story of ants and their incredible behaviour. Watch it together with your kids or colleagues. Teach them how they can adopt the same approach in life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-gIx7LXcQM

Success!

What does Ben want for Christmas?

Meet Ben…

Ben lives in Worcester, had a tough time with his girlfriend, who had his baby and a paternity test confirms he's the father (OK so that's his story), but she'd rather go back to her ex boyfriend claiming that he's the father, so kicks Ben out. His now ex girlfriend is back with her ex, who does drugs and now she can go back to drugs too. Wondering what kind of life that baby will have? Ben in the meantime loses his job, loses his car and now has to go on a waiting list for a hostel, as its already full.

If he raises enough money, he may be able to get into a B&B for £25 per night, but only if he's really lucky. So far everyone is passing him by and not paying any attention to him, because they're busy buying Christmas presents for their families and rushing through the crowds, snarling at anyone who gets in the way. Ben reckons it will be the cardboard tonight, which he stores behind the yellow grit bin. That's his bed, the pavement is his home, his desk, his kitchen, his front room, the bathroom, oh I forgot to say his hands and fingers have this black and dirty appearance, you know the ones that look like they've really not seen water for a few weeks.

So I share a few pennies and wish him luck, walking away with my shopping bags and wondering and wishing if Ben will ever get that warm bed tonight or whether he will be under his cardboard bed sheltering from the cold.

If you are visiting the Worcester shops, look out for Ben, you'll only miss him if you are rushing selfishly around the shops, thinking only of the presents you still have to buy.

I know Ben isn't alone, there are many others. Happy Christmas Prime Minister!

Ready for an ethical planet?

20120213-200830.jpg

You may have noticed recently that autocratic and dishonest behaviour is being rewarded by resentment and demands for justice. And everyone on the planet is involved. The human drama continues to unfold in front of our eyes on a daily basis. And what has grabbed the news headlines for over 12 months are the battles, whether physical in terms of fighting or verbal against the regimes, journalists, police, banks, senior individuals in charge and many more institutions and individuals that have been allowed to get away with thinking of just themselves and their own personal interest.

Actually we are selfish race, we don't really like other fellow human beings unless they are our own off-spring and then even we struggle to get on with them.

We are all aware of the family feuds that happen between siblings and not to speak of the arguments during family gatherings.

So why can't we be more unselfish and decide to support others? Why can't we put the importance of our own happiness and satisfaction on hold for a bit and instead think of others?

'But we do!' I hear you say, we support charities, we give money to them every time there is an appeal and true the UK are one of the most charitable nations in the world. But we do this out of guilt, because we feel we may not have done enough during the past 12 months, so giving some money to 'children in need' or comic relief' or one of the other 'telethons' makes us feel better, like we have given something and that means we have done our 'bit'.

Genuinely do you feel better or does your conscious actually know that you only did something because you have a condition, which I like to call 'spontaneous guilt'?

So how do we change our behaviour to become more ethical, more community focussed, more charitable, display more integrity, be less greedy, supporting of our fellow human beings, inspired to volunteer?

I don't intend to answer this question for you, it's for you to answer this for yourself.

I challenge you to look into your soul and decide whether you are doing enough for your fellow human.

Oh and I nearly forgot happy Valentine's day!

Success!

Volunteering

I have recently become an Ambassador for Kemp Hospice in Kidderminster, a great charity who add 'quality to life' for people that may have an illness that reduces their quality of life. They are a great bunch of people running it and an even greater bunch of people volunteering. I spent a few hours getting introduced to their warehouse, where they sort through all their donations and decide what's suitable for the shops or not. It's been a real eye opener, as I have always wondered about the workings behind the scenes in charity shops. And although we have seen Mary Portas doing her magic on a famous charity chain of shops in the UK, it is still a real revelation to see and hear what happens.

One thing is for sure, they need more volunteers, as there is lots of sorting to be done. So I wanted to share a few learnings from my time in the warehouse.

Separate clothes between really good and really bad, assume something that looks worn is in the really bad category. Kemp only wish to sell really good quality clothing and something that either looks badly worn or is soiled goes to rags. Now here is the great news, there is money to be made out of rags and this is a great reason to send all your clothes into charities. But to help them, please sort your clothing into 'really good' and 'really bad'. That way the volunteers do not have to do as much sorting. They still need to check it but it makes the job a lot easier.

Unless shoes are brand new or hardly worn or vintage, send them all to the shoe bank on refuse sites. There is something not so pleasant about wearing second hand shoes is there? I know some people will and need to but the idea is to get the quality of merchandise as good as possible in charity shops. It means that we can rely on getting some great bargains in charity shops and give the rest of the high street a run for their money.

Kemp have some great ideas for their shops in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn, which means a better look and feel for customers.

Then there is eBay and they will soon, with the help of 'yours truly', be selling on eBay too. And after investigating this inside eBay I also learnt that when anyone sells on eBay, they can nominate to make a donation from their sale to their chosen charity and eBay will discount your insertion fee by 50%. Now that's something to consider, as it's a win win.

I thoroughly enjoyed my few hours sorting through items for sale and making sure that only the best goes to their shops for those customers keen to look for a bargain.

I am sure I will share more in the months to come.