Photo by Canterbury Homeless Outreach

Everyday thousands of people in the UK have to face the challenges associated with homelessness, yet what many may not realise is that homelessness isn’t just an issue restricted to large urban regions, it is also a relevant concern in smaller areas such as Canterbury, which is illustrated by the city being ranked 8th in 2014 when measuring which parts of the UK had the highest level of rough sleepers. Priyanka Rai tells us about the organisation Canterbury Homeless Outreach – a student led organisation working with outreach in Canterbury.

Due to the social taboo, as well as misconceptions linked with homelessness, it is an issue that often goes unaddressed.

Canterbury Homeless Outreach is an organisation created by- but not exclusively restricted to- students of the University of Kent. They work to challenge the stigma surrounding homelessness as well as helping those that are in such situations.

Meeting every Monday at 7pm in Keynes Lecture Theatre 2, the group organises fundraisers in order to raise money for local charities such as ‘Porchlight’, who provide shelter and long term support to those in need, as well as ‘Catching Lives’, a day centre which serves food and advice to the homeless.

One of the biggest fundraising events that the society organises is ‘Help the Homeless week’ which will take place between Sunday 28th February and Friday 4th March this year. Last year the week was so successful that not only did the events raise over £3,500 for the charities but it was also voted Best Fundraising Event by Kent Union, a huge achievement for an organisation of its kind. This year the

Canterbury Homeless Outreach aim to raise even more through their variety of fun filled events which include a Krispy Kreme donut sale, a variety of lunch time talks which aim to challenge the negative perceptions of rough sleepers in the public eye, a sponsored sleep out in front of Essentials (which anyone can join) and an exhibition of art created by those who have been homeless in the past.

A full itinerary of the events that will be held during ‘Help the Homeless week’ is found below;

Sunday 28th Feb: Quiz at Woody’s at 8pm

Monday 29th Feb: Lunchtime talk in red room at 12pm

Tuesday 1st March: Lunchtime talk at 12pm, Art Exhibition in Keynes at 7pm

Wednesday 2nd March: Lunchtime talk at 12pm, film night in GLT2 at 7pm

Thursday 3rd March: Lunchtime talk at 12pm, Krispy Kreme Donut Sale outside Essentials between 1

– 3pm, Gig night at Woody’s 7.30pm

Friday 4th March: Lunchtime talk at 12pm, Sponsored sleep out outside of Essentials at 8pm till 8am

President of the Canterbury Homeless Outreach, Luke Bridle, told InQuire that “Homelessness is a serious problem in Canterbury and [the organisation are] really hoping that ‘Help the Homeless Week’ will make an even bigger impact in the community than it did last year.”

Whether it be simply purchasing a donut, going to the quiz, or participating in the sleep out, every little contribution goes a long way towards keeping citizens off the streets. Furthermore, if you want to become more directly involved with the organisation, in addition to ‘Help the Homeless week’ the society also reach out on a daily basis. Supplied with food donated by Gregg’s they dedicate evenings to handing out food to those that are unable to buy food themselves. Anyone who may want to begin outreaching must attend a training session, many of which will be held throughout the term so even if you’ve missed the first one there’s still plenty of opportunities to train and help out.

So if you want to join the society in order to be part of something unique, want something to put on your CV, or simply want to be charitable, any reason to help is a good enough reason. Whether it be one evening a week or one evening a month, any and all time dedicated towards helping the Canterbury Homeless Outreach’s cause is much appreciated.

To keep up to date with Canterbury Homeless Outreach’s latest events or to enquire about sponsoring or being sponsored for the sleep out click

Photo by Canterbury Homeless outreach