**Warwick student James Huxley Beavis will be sleeping on the streets over Christmas to raise awareness of homelessness.**
James is working with charity ‘Crisis’ – an organisation which helps single homeless people – from December 22 to December 30 to “get people talking about the issue of homelessness at Christmas”.
He said: “We provide help which doesn’t just last a week, but is a push over one week to get people into support structures throughout the year.”
James will be volunteering as a team leader in his centre in Bermondsey from 3pm – 11pm, but will spend the nights sleeping rough in Lewisham where he will have nothing except a spare hoodie and a sleeping bag. His only point of contact with family will be through a volunteer at the centre who will let relatives know he is safe each day.
“I am going to have to beg for food and money for transport.” James said. “I am really worried about how the public will react to me.”
‘Crisis’ is active throughout the year but has established ten centres across London in schools, warehouses and office buildings over the festive period. Those in need will receive accommodation, three meals a day, tea and coffee, showers, haircuts, entertainment, access to doctors and dieticians, massages, computer lessons and assessment and support. Counselling for alcohol and cocaine addiction is also widely available.
However this year, James is anxious about the added pressure on the charity. His volunteering role involves referring people in need to be assessed for accommodation suitability.
He said: “We have a policy where no one is turned away, but I am so nervous that we won’t have money or resources for housing this year.
“Many homeless centres close doors at Christmas due to staffing, but more people than ever are on the streets at that time. Last year saw the largest increase in people sleeping rough for 30 years. This year it will rise exponentially due to the Government’s new anti-squatting laws”
James, who is RAG president and this year was voted National Convener for National Student Fundraising Association (NaSFA) also wants to raise enough money to pay for all meals served at his centre.
Earlier this year James raised £1700 for his charity by running a marathon. He has also hosted three cloakrooms at Warwick SU which have raised £1000.
Donations to James can be made here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JamesBeavis