I’ve been thinking about writing this post for quite a while. Whilst I really enjoy writing about my travel experiences, fashion and of course books, I want my site to reflect the things that are important to me and that affect me in both a direct and indirect way.
Homelessness is something you can not fail to notice in Edinburgh or in fact any major city in the UK. It is staggering and truly shocking that in a country as rich and as wealthy as the UK that homelessness is so prevalent. There must be more that we as civilians can do and the government to bring an end to homelessness. I myself, am completely guilty of sometimes keeping my head down and walking straight past homeless individuals on the street. Partly, it’s because I’m not sure what I would say and partly because I very rarely carry change on me and so can’t give them anything. Even if I do have change though, I worry that some (not all by any means) have drug or alcohol problems and by giving them money I am perhaps fueling this habit or addiction. Obviously this does not apply to every homeless person and it’s wrong to stereotype the homeless in this way. I also think that homelessness must be incredibly lonely- that in a way you lose your identity as people purposely try and avoid you on the street and often ignore you. A friendly smile or a simple hello could therefore make a world of difference. At the end of the day, a homeless person is no different to myself apart from the fact that factors out of their control or perhaps a series of wrong decisions has lead to them to the street. I am lucky that I have such a supportive, caring family and had a brilliant upbringing and education that I’m now in a profession I love and have a roof over my head. Not everyone is this fortunate and I think it’s important to remember that had I been born into a different family unit or had a troubled upbringing things could have been so different. Homeless people are without homes but they are still people and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. There must be more that can be done to give people options and to spot people who are in danger of falling into homelessness.
There are a couple of charities that have come to my attention that help support the homeless- some in Edinburgh and some throughout the UK. One of them is an Edinburgh project called Street Reads– this amazing project is run by a lady called Rachel who takes book donations and gives them to homeless readers. What a fantastic project- it’s definitely worth a follow on twitter (their website has not been updated for a while) and getting involved in some way if you can.
Crisis is a fantastic charity that offers year-round education, employment, housing and well-being services from centres in London, Newcastle, Oxford, Edinburgh and Merseyside, called Crisis Skylight Centre. You can volunteer or make a donation- the work they and their volunteers do is incredible and helps the lives of so many homeless.
Shelter is another charity that does incredible work to help the homeless. Again, you can volunteer or make a donation as well as campaign to help prevent homelessness in the first place.
This year then, I am going to try harder to be a little kinder and give a little more, and in some small way, try and make a difference to a homeless individual. I truly feel we have a moral responsibility as citizens to do something to help stop homelessness and hopefully make it a thing of the past.