Nightwatch services in huge demand

Nightwatch services in huge demand

Delegates at Nightwatch's 40th anniversary conference on September 21 will be told that as many people seek the charity's help today as did during the years of the 2013-14 recession.

Over 100 people visit the charity's Croydon town centre meeting point on Sundays when volunteers distribute food parcels. And these numbers are nearly matched on weekday evenings when volunteers offer hot food, clothing and advice.

White Label is pleased to be supporting the conference, taking place at Croydon Conference Centre, which will highlight key issues surrounding homelessness.

Nightwatch Chairman Jad Adams says the continuing need for the charity's help is down to the lack of progress in meeting the 'underlying challenges' which cause people to be made homeless in the first place.

"We had over 100 people come to our meeting point on Sunday, as many as we saw at the peak in 2013," said Mr Adams.

"In its 40th anniversary year, Nightwatch wants to work with the broader community to help address the challenges underlying homelessness, from unemployment and debt through to immigration and changes in the benefit system.

"As Croydon regenerates with increasing town centre residential and premium offices, it cannot afford to leave behind its most vulnerable communities."

Government Minister Marcus Jones MP will deliver the keynote speech at the Nightwatch 40th Anniversary Conference in the Croydon Conference Centre in Surrey Street on Wednesday, 21st September. Mayor of Croydon Cllr Wayne Trakas-Lawlor will give the opening address.

One of the main speakers will be TV producer Sue Medhurst who filmed this year's BBC1 series 'Famous, Rich and Homeless' series with Nightwatch.

"What became apparent to me during my time on the production of Famous Rich and Homeless was that homelessness is an incredibly complex issue," said Sue, who filmed in Croydon with 'How Clean is your Home' TV series presenter Kim Woodburn.

"Very few people are in the situation because of a single shot of bad luck; most have a range of difficult issues - childhood trauma and mental illness, job loss and substance misuse for example - which have amassed to create a perfect-storm for homelessness. "

Sue said the production team was struck by the Nightwatch volunteers' "depth of knowledge and wealth of experience." The result was an "outstanding" documentary, which brought the issue of homelessness back into the spotlight and helped raise over £400,000 for Sport Relief.

"The kindness that Nightwatch showed Kim during her time on the street really impacted her and made for very compelling viewing," added Sue.

Nightwatch have assembled a panel of leading experts and contributors, for the conference to discuss the theme, Helping to Meet the Challenge of Homelessness in front of an audience representing the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The conference will look at how Nightwatch and its partners have assisted homeless people in the past, and consider what might be done to prevent and alleviate homelessness in future.

Nightwatch's dedicated volunteers work 365 days a year to help the town's homeless community, and over the past four decades they have helped many people out of homelessness and onto a better life.

The conference, which is being sponsored by Streets Ahead Estate Agents of Croydon, Coversure Insurance Service, Simply Lunch and the Croydon Conference Centre, will be chaired by Nana Acquah, a Nightwatch committee member who has worked with government ministers on immigration, crime and disorder issues.

Among those on the panel will be London Borough of Croydon Mayor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor; Cllr Hamida Ali, Croydon's Cabinet member for Communities, Safety and Justice; Bishop Martin Wharton; Roger Davies of Nightwatch; Fatima Koroma of Croydon Food Bank; and Chennel Lawrence, Director of Operations, CAYSH (Croydon Association for Young Single Homeless).

Former Nightwatch clients will also give their personal testimonies of homelessness, before the conference discusses Challenges and Aspirations of the Future.

For more information about attending the conference contact Julie Leggatt, at jleggatt@wlcreative.org.uk or call www.croydonnightwatch.com You can book conference tickets directly online via Eventbrite on: https://nightwatchconference.eventbrite.co.uk

For more on BBC1's Rich, Famous and Homeless visit:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b073lrl3

ENDS

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