Yorkshire homeless charity, Simon on the Streets, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of rough sleeping during the festive season.
In partnership with Imagine If Theatre Company, students from Leeds Arts University and MacComms PR agency, the charity has produced a short film with an aim to encourage the public to empathise with rough sleepers during the Christmas period.
The narrative of the film focuses on a homeless woman who shares a moment of nostalgia when a child passing by drops his brown teddy bear beside her. It takes her back to happy memories when she was a child, receiving a similar bear for Christmas.
The film aims to portray the loneliness of rough sleeping, particularly at this time of year, and that there are many reasons as to why people become homeless so the charity hopes to encourage people not to make judgements.
The film offers a stark contrast to the Christmas advertisements from various big brands seen every year.
Fiona Hobson, admin, communications and volunteer coordinator at Simon on the Streets commented:
“We really hope our Christmas video will raise awareness of rough sleeping in West Yorkshire. While the problems rough sleepers face come to the forefront of people’s minds at Christmas, these issues are faced by those we support 365 days of the year, which is why our street-based outreach workers offer vital long-term support”
A real collaboration project, CEO of Imagine If, Francesca Joy, film and media students Joel Nundy and Julie Dekimpe, Emily Docherty of MacComms and the Malyk family have all donated their time and resources to put the film together.
The independent charity, which was established in 1999, relies solely on sponsorship, fundraising and donations.
It works with local people who are affected by homelessness and rough sleeping in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield. The organisation offers street-support to individuals who have complex needs and cannot access mainstream services, due to behavioural issues or mental illness.
Commenting on the film, Francesca Joy of Imagine If said:
“Not having a place to call home is one of the worst things a person can go through and having to resort to sleeping rough must be unimaginably painful. I hope this video makes people remember that we are all human and we all need help”
The charity is encouraging the public to share the film and get involved in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ChristmasOnTheStreets. View the film on the charity’s YouTube channel.