St. Paul’s Creative Writing Group Launches into the World of Film

When St. Paul’s Hostel asked us if we would help to support a video project we were only too happy to assist.

The ambitious promotional video was created by the St Paul’s Creative Writing group and its purpose was to highlight and raise awareness of the many issues of homelessness. The content of the programme was also intended to explore the different ways the hostel helps and encourages clients to integrate back into the community.

Postcode Anywhere gave St Paul’s funding as a contribution towards the purchase of a video camera to enable them to film and edit the 10 hours of raw footage and ultimately create the final, completed DVD.

It all started when our technical support manager, Alex Schofield told us that his girlfriend Laura Frampton was a volunteer at St Paul’s and was also doing her university dissertation on the subject of homelessness. She was also involved in supporting the Creative Writing group.

Laura appealed to us for help during her time as a volunteer at St. Paul’s as we already knew them quite well through our CSR work in the community. Last year we provided help in the kitchen, serving food to clients at their evening meal sessions. As a result of this relationship, we couldn’t help but be impressed by the extent and scope of work they do for homeless people.

The project was really successful and St. Paul’s Creative Writing group and everyone else that has helped towards the completion of the final DVD should all be congratulated.

Giving something back

The Creative Writing group consists of a handful of committed and enthusiastic St. Paul’s clients who are all at various stages of being helped towards greater independence and wish “to give something back” to the hostel. The DVD is in 2 parts; the 1st part shows the group asking questions and sharing their own experiences.

One member of the group reveals the support he received in enabling him to move forward with his life. For example the film shows him taking part in the Good Soil project and how the hostel helped him with his resettlement programme. The film depicts the group at the hostel explaining how important it is to them to receive the on-going help and encouragement from the committed and dedicated staff at St. Paul’s.

The 2nd part of the DVD reveals how staff help clients move forwards once they are ready for change and provide counselling services, volunteering opportunities as well as training in the hostel kitchen. It also highlights other recreational activities that are provided by volunteers such as dragon boat racing for example. Additionally, volunteers help clients with literacy and numeracy, art workshops and the opportunity for them to work at the hostel allotment.

St. Paul’s DVD was completed in December 2012 and the hostel hopes to continue with more exciting projects illuminating its life and good works. It is very important for St. Paul’s to raise awareness of the valuable work it does. With the severity of the cutbacks in government funding and the current difficult economic climate, there has never been a more critical time to support the problem of homelessness.

Homelessness is a nationwide issue that is beginning to rise and it is not going to go away. As the impact of the economic downturn and the long term housing shortage take hold, advice services have seen greater demand for help from people having lost or are under threat of losing their homes.

Worryingly statistics in general show an increase in the number of homeless people including a rise in street homelessness. The Government’s recent over haul of the welfare and benefits system and cuts  to affordable housing budgets is going to  compound the problem and therefore it is likely to get progressively worse.

Now is an appropriate time for St. Pauls to continue to raise the awareness of homelessness and the DVD provides an ideal medium to do this. Support & Development Co-Ordinator, Sharon van Antwerpe has used the DVD in some of the presentations she does in the community and has already received really good feedback.