In October 2017 we launched our campaign to end street homelessness in Cornwall. This followed the 2016 Rough Sleeper Estimate, where we counted 99 street homeless individuals on one November night.
This figure, which is part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government official national estimates, ranked Cornwall as having the third highest number of rough sleepers in England. This gave us the motivation to act and develop our campaign “Let’s End Street Homelessness in Cornwall”.
Launch & Exhibition
Our campaign was launched in Truro Cathedral on 11 October with an exhibition of clients’ artwork displayed. 200 people, including clients, staff, local dignitaries and councillors, along with the general public, attended the events. Bishop Chris our President, Steve Ellis our Chief Executive, and Margie Ricardo our Truro art group volunteer leader addressed those attending with compassionate and motivated words.
The exhibition then toured around Cornwall from Penzance to Saltash, exhibiting in a variety of venues from the well-known Exchange Gallery in Penzance, to a number of libraries and a pop-up gallery in an empty shop. This illustrated the human face of homelessness – all the people we support are individuals with skills, talents, hopes and ambitions.
To mark the end of the tour and this first phase of the campaign, the exhibition artwork went on sale in a silent auction which took place in both Falmouth and online. Many bids were cast and we raised over £1,000 for the artists for their artworks.
Our conference at the Eden Project was aimed at raising awareness in the business sector in Cornwall with support from Kim Conchie and the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce. We welcomed 100 invited delegates representing 54 different businesses.
The day was hosted by Mandy Milano (Changing Places) and keynote speakers included Jeremy Wrathall (Cornish Lithium), Mark Crowdy (writer of Doc Martin) and Matthew Thompson (Fifteen and Cornwall Food Foundation).
The session was opened up by St Petrocs Chief Executive Steve Ellis, and President Bishop Chris. The day was used to raise awareness of the difficulties homeless people in Cornwall face and the guest speakers inspired all those present to consider how best they can help St Petrocs in their daily work.
The Eden Project are wonderful at hosting these types of events and as ever, everyone was made to feel incredibly welcome.
Throughout the year many businesses have remained in touch with St Petrocs and are working on projects going forward.
Cathy Come Home at The Poly and ‘Cathy’ tour
Director Ken Loach, in support of the campaign, gave us permission to screen his 1960’s landmark film, Cathy Come Home at the Falmouth Poly. Cinemagoers joined us for discussion over tea and cake afterwards. Audience members saw the film again, 51 years on from the first BBC screening in 1966, while others viewed it for the first time, viewing the story of Cathy’s slide into poverty, debt and homelessness. It stirred emotions and promoted many rich discussions.