Category Archives: Homelessness

Charities join forces to change the lives of homeless people and their pets

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, and Mayhew, leading animal welfare charity for dogs, have launched a joint Christmas gift campaign that will help homeless people and their dogs access vital services, health and wellbeing checks, and warming food and supplies.

Crisis logoHomelessness is devastating, and a dog can be the only companion for someone who doesn’t have a place to call home. Crisis and Mayhew have been working together for 11 years to bring warmth and support to homeless people and their dogs. This year, the two charities have collaborated on an extra special initiative – a range of four virtual gifts designed to make a real difference to vulnerable owners and their pets.

Supporters can choose to donate £5, £10, £15 or £20 and, with proceeds split equally between Crisis and Mayhew, can help both charities fund much needed items and services for homeless people and their dogs. A few examples range from providing a cup of tea and a canine health check to a warm coat and help accessing a practical skills course.

Mayhew logoFunds raised could help provide homeless people with advice, food and warmth at Crisis at Christmas, and help them leave homelessness behind through Crisis’ year-round support with housing, employment and health. It could make a real difference to projects like Mayhew’s Pet Refuge programme, which provides shelter and care for the pets of people going through a crisis period. This is a lifeline for owners and enables them to access vital services, many of which are proffered through charities like Crisis who provide comprehensive support with housing, employment and health.

Through this new joint initiative, Mayhew and Crisis hope to help even more vulnerable owners and animals this Christmas and beyond, and make a real difference to the ongoing lives of homeless people and their dogs.

Richard Lee, director of fundraising at Crisis, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be partnering with Mayhew this Christmas to ensure our homeless guests and their dogs receive the support they need. Homelessness can be a devastating experience at any time of year, but it can be particularly hard at this time of year. That’s why Crisis at Christmas is so important – as well as food, warmth and vital services like those provided by Mayhew, our guests will be introduced to our year-round services that help thousands leave homelessness behind for good each year.”

Mayhew CEO Caroline Yates said: “Homelessness is devastating, and for many in such a situation, a dog is their best friend and the only source of comfort they have. The expense of food and vet care puts an extra burden on someone already in a vulnerable situation, so we are thrilled to have teamed up with Crisis to give people a way to help us both provide necessary items and services to those in need. Helping people and helping animals come hand in hand, especially at Christmas.”

To see the virtual gifts and to make a donation, click here.

The Big Busk is back!

The Big Busk in Shrewsbury takes place on Saturday 1st April 2017 and performers this year include Martin Stephenson, Beth Prior, Nikki Rous and The Shropshire Boatmen.

The Big Busk logoNow in its fifth year, The Big Busk celebrates music, dance, art and entertainment, with local talent and acts performing throughout the day and night in every part of the town – in shops, cafes, bars, pubs and even on a boat! it’s an event for everyone and accessible to all.

Raising awareness and funds for The Shrewsbury Ark, which provides support for people who are homeless or vulnerable, The Big Busk commemorates the tragic killing of busker Ben Bebbington in 2012. This year the event will highlight mental well-being and how music can provide therapy for the soul. In 2016 The Big Busk raised over £10,000.

The centrepiece of the event is The Big Sing, which takes place at 1pm in The Square in Shrewsbury and everyone is invited to join in with two well known songs. There will be workshops running throughout the day and The Big Busk team will be on hand at their HQ at the back of The Square to answer any questions and help people make the most of the day.

Performances will cover a wide range of musical genres from opera and classical to contemporary and folk, and will take place on the streets and in pubs and venues around the town, including on board the Sabrina Boat on the River Severn.

To find out more about The Big Busk visit You can also follow The Big Busk on Twitter @TheBusk (#TheBigBusk) and Facebook: @ShrewsburyTheBigBusk.

Shrewsbury hosts fourth Big Busk

The Big Busk logoThe 2016 Big Busk takes place in Shrewsbury on Saturday 2nd April. This is an annual event to raise funds for The Shrewsbury Ark, which provides support for people who are homeless or vulnerable, and commemorates the tragic killing of busker Ben Bebbington in 2012.

Saturday 6th April 2013 saw the first Big Busk take place in the beautiful medieval centre of Shrewsbury. A celebration of community, music and talent, the event saw over 40 musical acts, made up of over 200 people, fill the town with a carnival atmosphere.

Performances covered a whole range of musical genres from opera and classical to contemporary and folk. There were also dance flash mobs and a collective performance of Imagine by John Lennon which took place on Pride Hill, in which approximately 100 singers and musicians took part. Since then the event has grown, with musicians now filling pubs around the town with music and laughter into the evening.

The original event was organised as a tribute to Ben Bebbington by his family and friends. Ben, a talented musician in his own right, was tragically killed in September 2012 and the Big Busk event at the beginning of April each year, marks Ben’s birthday on 6th April.

The Big Busk raises awareness of, and funds for, The Shrewsbury Ark, a charity that supported Ben and meant a great deal to him.

Performing this year are choirs, brass bands, Djembe drummers, Taiko drummers, acoustic performances of folk and pop, rap, street dance, opera, one man bands, Morris Dancing and novelty acts.

Shrewsbury’s historic Butcher Row will, for one day only, become Busker Row as Radio Shropshire takes over with the BBC Introducing crowd. There will also be a Try It Out room, which will have different instruments for youngsters – and grown-ups – to hold, play and experience first-hand. Members of the Shropshire Music Service will be on hand to answer questions about how to start learning to play an instrument, how to hire instruments and so on…

To find out more about The Big Busk visit You can also follow The Big Busk on Twitter @TheBusk (#TheBigBusk) and Facebook: ShrewsburyTheBigBusk.

Veterans service wins housing award

A social landlord has won an award for its housing and support service which helps homeless veterans.

Riverside ECHG was named specialist landlord of the year at the UK Housing Awards for its Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex-Services (Spaces).

Spaces, based at Catterick in North Yorkshire, helps find suitable housing for vulnerable ex-servicemen and women who are at risk of homelessness.

Riverside ECHG has supported more than 10,500 veterans since joining forces with the Ministry of Defence 13 years ago.

Spaces now provides the foundation of a national network of support run by Riverside.

The service is run by Riverside manager Trevor Morris, himself an ex-serviceman.

Mr Morris said: “Prior to Spaces when I first started working in the homelessness sector I could see that there were a lot of veterans in the mainstream hostels I worked in and I knew that these guys needed targeted support.

“Through the MoD’s Joint Services Housing Advice Office head at the time, a forward-thinking man called Bob Cribb, we found someone who shared our views and that led to the instigation of Spaces. Needless to say I am delighted that our work and partnership has been nationally recognised.”