When you’re walking through your neighbourhood, you probably continue to see drawings of rainbows in windows – a trend which began during the first lockdown as tributes to our heroic NHS staff. But now, as we enter a second period of restrictions, you might start to see pictures of houses alongside them for an equally poignant cause.
The houses are part of an initiative started by the charity Shelter, to show support of the work they do across the nation to support people facing homelessness, and also to raise awareness of their upcoming festive concert, which will be live streamed this December.
The Hope Home Song virtual concert will be hosted in the candle-lit church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, where the charity was first founded in 1966. Hosted by long-time Shelter supporter Edith Bowman, it will feature plenty of Christmassy carols, uplifting stories of people who have been helped by the organisation, and appearances from famous faces such as Julie Walters, Stephen Fry and Robert Rinder. This Morning‘s Holly Willoughby has also shown her support for the event, posting on her Instagram account to spread the word.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s Chief Executive, says: ‘It has been a year of unspeakable difficulty for far too many families. For the people and families who Shelter support, winter is always tough – and this year it will be harder than ever. Our services have seen unprecedented demand this year as more and more people faced housing issues and losing their homes. This Christmas may not be a time of joy for many people.
‘But the Hope Home Song concert is a chance to stand together against homelessness, Hope is what gets us through – so let’s come together to make it. Join Shelter and help us create the UK’s biggest ever virtual carol concert – and show your support for the families facing this winter and Christmas without a home.’
The goal of the Home Hope Song concert is not only to unite our households and create a sense of togetherness at this tough time, but also, of course, to raise much-needed funds for Shelter, who are not only seeing increased demand, but working through a time when many charities have seen a drop in donations in light of the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic.
The concert is free for all to attend, but any money that is given will go towards Shelter’s ever-vital work. Sign up at shelter.org.uk/carols, and you’ll receive a welcome pack which includes fundraising inspiration and a ‘house’ template to be displayed in your window, so you can put up your #signofsolidarity too.