South & City College Birmingham held its first Homeless Conference at its Digbeth campus on Tuesday 18 December 2018.

The purpose of the summit was to encourage healthy discussion and debate regarding homelessness in the area, with the college providing a safe and friendly environment for this deliberation to take place in. The conference touched on how educational establishments such as South & City College can work alongside local businesses and other organisations to help the homeless within Digbeth and central Birmingham.

As a follow up to this, they organised a soup kitchen on 26 February 2019. Stephanie Moustache joined the amazing team of people helping at this event.

At least 320,000 people are homeless in Britain, according to research by the housing charity Shelter. This amounts to a year-on-year increase of 13,000, a 4% rise, despite government pledges to tackle the crisis. The estimate suggests that one in 200 people are homeless nationally. Shelter says its figures, which include rough sleepers and people in temporary accommodation, are likely to be an underestimate of the problem as they do not capture people who experience “hidden” homelessness, such as sofa-surfers, and others living insecurely in sheds or cars, for example. Outside of the Capital London, regionally, homelessness grew fastest in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Whilst events like this cannot change these figures, they do provide these vulnerable people an opportunity to sit down in a non-threatening environment, meet people and be provided with hot food and even candy floss and popcorn! They also had the opportunity to have a free haircut and get some new clothes which is very important for their self-esteem. The event was supported by both staff and students of the college.

Stephanie spoke to a number of homeless people that attended, "The little insight I had into their lives was fascinating, although I was saddened by the plight of a few and their reasons for falling into the homelessness trap. I'd like to thank  Hanna Myles and the staff of South and City College for allowing me to participate in the event.

As a firm, our ethos is to improve lives, communities and society. This is evident in the nature of client that we choose to work with and in the work that we do with them. The less visible face of our social purpose can be seen in the motivation and passion that we bring in our lives outside work. Many of us choose to volunteer for local groups and organisations that make a positive difference in people’s lives."

The college plan to hold regular events and the next event is scheduled for 30 April 2019.

For more information

Please contact Stephanie Moustache.