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TV stars become face of street homelessness for new charity photography exhibition

News St Martin – Talking Points

Wednesday 11 September 2013

TV stars become face of street homelessness for new charity photography exhibition

Stars from Skins, The Borgias, Glee and Waterloo Road have posed as rough sleepers for a new, free photography exhibition challenging the public not to ignore rising levels of street homelessness. Rough sleeping in London alone has increased 64 per cent in the last two years*.

Prints from ‘What Makes Us Care?’, the debut exhibition by Skins actress and portrait photographer Kathryn Prescott, opening on Wednesday 18 September at St Martin-in-the-Fields, will be sold to support the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint and The Big Issue Foundation.

Kathryn, 22, who recently reprised her role as Emily Fitch for Skins Fire, photographed 20 famous faces for the exhibition including former Skins co-star Kaya Scodelario (Effy Stonem), The Borgias lead François Arnaud (Cesare Borgia) and Glee actor Max Adler (Dave Karofsky). ‘What Makes Us Care?’ is free to view and will be open for one month from Wednesday 18 September.

The number of people verified as rough sleeping inLondonhas increased 64 per cent in the last two years, from 3,917 in 2010/11 to 6437 in 2012/13. The ‘CHAIN’ figures collected byLondon’s outreach teams and collated by the charity Broadway, show that while rough sleeping among all ages is rising in the capital, figures for under-25s have seen the biggest increase – 129 per cent.

Kathryn Prescott said: “Most people are no longer shocked when they see someone living on the streets. In fact, many people simply walk by without so much as a second thought. I can’t imagine a single person doing so if walking past a person they even faintly recognised from some area of their own life, past or present, in a similar state.

“By using familiar faces looking damaged and destitute, I want to help break down stereotypes about those without homes. So they are seen as people rather than simply part of the scenery of modern life, or pests to be ignored. These people living on the streets could have been friends you once knew. They are people who have somehow fallen through the gaps and found themselves, often through unimaginable circumstances, on the cusp of existence. In another reality, this could easily be me or you.”  

Centrepoint work with 1,000 homeless young people aged-16-25 each year, providing not only a safe place to stay, but also support to find work, access education and move on to independent living.

Centrepoint Head of Funding, John Raynham, said: “For so many people, particularly under-25s, to be sleeping on the streets ofLondonis a huge concern. Please visit ‘What Makes Us Care’ and think again about some of the faces you see every day. Too many young people are still facing the dangers of rough sleeping, vulnerable to the physical and mental toll it can take. They need our support to leave homelessness behind.”

The Big Issue works with around 2,000 homeless and vulnerably housed people every year, providing them with the opportunity to earn an income by buying a magazine up front for £1.25 and selling it on for £2.50. The Big Issue Foundation supports vendors in dealing with the issues which have led them to the streets, and offers them the hope of a better life.

Big Issue Foundation CEO, Stephen Robertson, said: “The homeless population is shockingly on the increase. As the street population swells we are all challenged as citizens to not turn away, to ignore and pigeon hole people as ‘unworthy’. This exhibition brilliantly asks us to think again and to decide just what makes us care. Do our stereotypes and assumptions about others help us to maintain an unrealistic view of people in the modern world?”

ENDS

Rough sleeping figures

*The total number of people of all ages verified as sleeping rough in London in 2010/11 was 3917, compared to 6437 2012/13, an increase of 64 per cent. The number of young people under 25 verified as sleeping rough in London in 2010/11 was 316, compared to 725 in 2012/13, an increase of 129 per cent.

The ‘CHAIN’ figures, collated by the charity Broadway, are collected by using outreach teams who officially verify when a person is ‘bedded down’ on the streets. No nationwide figures of comparable quality are currently collected.  The figures do not include the large numbers of people that are thought be sleeping rough out of sight of these teams.

About Centrepoint

  • Centrepoint is the leading charity for homeless young people aged 16-25.
  • Centrepoint supports around one thousand homeless young people a year providing accommodation-based and floating support services inLondonand the North East of England. These include emergency night shelters and accommodation-based short stay services, as well as specialist services for care leavers, ex-offenders, young single parents, foyers and supported flats.
  • Centrepoint’s work is about more than just providing a safe bed for the night; Centrepoint helps young people to turn their lives around by gaining essential life skills, tackling their physical and mental health issues and moving into education or employment.
  • Through policy work, Centrepoint aims to influence public policy, campaigning on behalf of the young people it supports and homeless young people throughout theUK.
  • Founded in 1969, Centrepoint has helped more than 75,000 homeless young people.
  • HRH The Duke of Cambridge became Centrepoint’s Patron in 2005.

For more information, please visit www.centrepoint.org.uk

About the Big Issue Foundation

The Big Issue exists to offer homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness, the opportunity to earn a legitimate income.

  • We produce a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine which vendors buy from us for £1.25 and sell to the public for £2.50, keeping the difference.
  • Vendors receive training and support, are allocated a fixed pitch from which to vend, and must adhere to a code of conduct whilst selling the magazine. 
  • The Big Issue Foundation is a registered charity which exists to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the issues which have led to their homelessness, or those which have developed during their time on the streets. 
  • The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals.  
  • Founded in 1991, The Big Issue has helped hundreds of thousands of homeless people to take control of their lives and become a powerful blueprint for social change.
  • For further information please go to www.bigissue.com or www.bigissue.org.uk

 

About St Martin-in-the-Fields

St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, is renowned throughout the world for its music, architecture, hospitality and a forward-thinking approach to supporting people in need. From London’s first free lending library and religious broadcast, to pioneering work with homeless people and its world-renowned music programme, St Martin’s continues to break new ground in defining what it means to be a church. 

As part of St Martin’s recent renovations the church is now able to host art exhibitions in the Foyer and Gallery in the Crypt.  St Martin’s offers a platform for artists and organisations to display their works, to deliver a message of hope and to encourage viewers to re-examine their perspectives on the modern world. 

Exhibitions are FREE and the opening hours of the Gallery in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields, are Monday-Tuesday 8.00am-8.00pm, Wednesday 8.00am–6.30pm, Thursday – Saturday 8.00am – 9.00pm and Sunday 11.00am-6.00pm.  If the Gallery in the Crypt is closed for a private viewing or an event, the details will be listed on the St Martin’s website www.smitf.org.