Photography project supporting the homeless: Postcards from the Edge

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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Photography project supporting the homeless: Postcards from the Edge

Good Organisation, the organisation that is supporting local homeless people to act as tour guides in York has announced the launch of a new project. Kenny Lieske told us more:

Good Organisation, which is currently training and supporting local homeless people to work as walking tour guides have five tours in the pipeline which will formally be offered as a public service from 3rd June 2019.

However not all of those engaged by the programme have the confidence to act in a public facing role, so it hoped that a new photography project can be used to support those individuals.

Natasha Almond, the Director of Good Organisation said:

“We hope that this new initiative can be used to build the skills and confidence of 10 homeless people, helping them to convey the beauty of different parts of York through the lens of photography. 

Those photographs will be turned into postcards and distributed to raise small amounts of money to provide practical assistance, helping those individuals to secure affordable housing deposits or buy essential household items where such accommodation has been obtained. 

The project is entitled ‘Postcards from the Edge’, not only reflecting the marginalisation experienced by those involved, but also capturing the secondary aim of the scheme where the images used are intended to promote architectural and heritage attractions outside of the city centre that tourists rarely get to see.”

York is one of the UK’s most popular tourism destinations and the number of people visiting the city each year now exceeds 7.3 million, with the sector contributing in excess of £600 million to the local economy.

The majority of those visiting the city only spend a limited amount of time in York and tend to focus much of their attention on city centre attractions, so it is hoped that this project will shine a spotlight on other parts of the city.

Good Organisation was established last year with the mission to help local disadvantaged people share in the economic benefits of the city’s thriving tourism industry, and Natasha added:

“While many people often regard York as an affluent city, homelessness remains a significant problem. The local authority reports that there are 49 households currently living in transition accommodation, with over 600 interventions being made to prevent homelessness in the past year. 

While the number of rough sleepers has recently fallen, this is set against a sharp increase of 61% in the proceeding year, which was three times above the regional average, and a quarter of all the homeless people who died in the region in 2017, died in York, equating to 11 deaths in a single year. 

According to the British Medical Association, the number of homeless people admitted to hospital in the region has also risen by more than a quarter in the last five years. 

Unfortunately, because of the stigma still surrounding homelessness, only a small percentage of those we support feel able to work as a public tour guide, so we’re always keen to develop other projects.

All of the homeless people will be provided with cameras, but we are appealing for volunteers with an interest in photography, who may be able to offer a couple of hours each week to support the participants.”

Although some potential heritage sites have already been identified, the team at Good Organisation anticipate that the homeless people themselves will work with local history organisations and neighbourhood community groups to research and uncover additional architectural landmarks, which are of perceived value to local residents and may have a broader appeal to tourists.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a photographer can register online via www.goodorganisation.co.uk/postcards.html while local businesses or community groups willing to stock the postcards when they have been printed are also being encouraged to get in touch.

For more information, contact Kenny Lieske on 07900 995607 or email mail@goodorganisation.co.uk

 

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