Almost 200 people attended the sell-out event to launch the St Petrocs campaign “Let’s End Street Homelessness in Cornwall” at the Alverton Hotel in Truro on Tuesday 30th October 2018 hosted by BBC journalist Donna Birrell.
Guests comprised of St Petrocs clients, volunteers and staff, Lord Lieutenant Colonel Bolitho, Chairman of Cornwall Council Mary May, St Petrocs Patrons Lord and Lady St Levan who all performed readings of poetry written by St Petrocs clients.
The 40 strong Falmouth Community Gospel Choir brought the event to a close with energetic music and an uplifting message of “hopefulness in hopelessness and homelessness”.
The campaign continues throughout the winter focusing on poetry as a way to engage people with the cause. Poetry being the focus as it enables people to express themselves, their feelings and emotions.
There will be a ‘Poem of the Week’ broadcast on St Petrocs social media channels where poems about homelessness will be performed by people of note, some from Cornwall and some from beyond. There are known actors and authors who are reading poems to support the campaign to end street homelessness in Cornwall.
Figures released earlier this year saw Cornwall drop from third to tenth in the statistics ranking local authorities with the highest number of rough sleepers in England. The county had the greatest decrease of rough sleepers in England, from 99 to 68, bucking the national trend.
Donna Birrell of BBC Radio Cornwall said “Going out on to the street, nurturing, caring, extending a hand which is what St Petrocs is all about. It’s reaching out saying ‘each and every one of us, wherever we have come from in our lives, we are human beings. We start and end at the same point and what we do in the middle will define us and each other.”
Steve Ellis CEO of St Petrocs said “This campaign is about trying to give everybody a voice, and perhaps more importantly, making sure every person is heard and listened to.”
“This campaign is about trying to give everybody a voice, and perhaps more importantly, making sure every person is heard and listened to.”
“At St Petrocs we quite frankly felt the numbers of people sleeping on the streets was shameful. We launched this campaign last year because we believed we had to do something practical to reverse the trend of the numbers of people continuing to go to the streets.”
“Last year Cornwall bucked the trend, we had a reduced figure of rough sleepers on a typical night down from 99 to 68, it was the highest reduction in the country. It proves we can make a difference and that our ambition to eradicate people sleeping on our streets is something achievable.”