Sunderland Stories

Homelessness in the North East: upbringing or circumstance?

Episode four of #SunderlandStories highlighted the brilliant work the Salvation Army in Sunderland and Centrepoint UK do to improve homelessness in Sunderland and the North East.

Craig Hilton, administrator at Salvation Army Swan Lodge, located in High Street West told SOS:

“From people leaving a hostel environment to ex residents we support those with a consistent bag of food each week for about a month so that they have one less worry.

“We act as a belief system for people. Attachment and trust is non-existent to most people; as they have nothing and nobody. We always try to see potential.”

Craig Hilton, administrator at Swan Lodge Salvation Army at High Street West, Sunderland.

At Swan Lodge, Craig and his team also teach food and hygiene skills to help improve work ethic.

“Homeless is not who they are, it’s just a circumstance they are in”.

Craig Hilton, administrator at swan lodge salvation army

The Salvation Army also offers food bank services across the region, with bases like Austin House, which works as a social gathering space for the less fortunate and the homeless.

Graham Wharton, project manager at the Salvation Army’s Austin House base, said:

“During term times, we do five breakfast clubs for families that are principally for youngsters. A scheme called Holiday Hunger was set up to provide lunch clubs for children; this takes some of the pressure off parents.”

Graham Wharton, project manager at Salvation Army’s Austin House in Southwick.

Austin House is part of Southwick community project in Sunderland. The community centre helps youth in the city and the unemployed.

This Salvation Army base see people who want to get trained and skilled, particularly in the younger generations so that they can break the cycle of poverty in the city.

Centrepoint UK, Britain’s leading youth homelessness charity provide housing for over 1400 young people across the North East, North West and London.

This inspirational charity provides skills for young people to be able to obtain a home and a job for themselves to be able to live full aspirational lives out in the community.

To raise awareness of the homelessness crisis, an event was held at the Stadium of Light last year. The event organised a sleep out night at the stadium’s grounds.

Nathan Henry and Abbie Holborn, two Geordie Shore reality TV stars participated in the sleep out.

(Left to right): Nathan Henry, Abbie Holborn and journalists Georgina Earley and Katie Baggott | Photo credit: Georgina Earley.

You can catch the fifth episode of #SunderlandStories on Spark Sunderland on Thursday 4th July between 11am-12pm.

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