On June 27 the Heritage Officer delivered workshops about homelessness to Years 5 & 6 students at Carden Primary School in Brighton.
The workshops aim to challenge misconceptions by investigating who’s affected by homelessness, the common causes, what it’s like to face homelessness and what support is available. During the one-hour sessions the students imagined what it might feel like if they had to sleep outside, with their comfort, safety and privacy compromised, and learnt about how many people sleep on the streets in Brighton and Hove. Another exercise involved the students looking through a series of images of people and sorting them, based on their appearance alone, into whether they had or hadn’t experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. This prompted a discussion around the stereotypes that society has formed about people who are rough sleeping.
The students later learnt about the common causes of homelessness, in particular relationship breakdown, loss of employment, mental or physical health issues and substance misuse, and watched a short film by a BHT Heritage client about what a normal day is like for him. Another activity involved the students guessing which essential items were in a rucksack that would help keep someone who was homeless safe and well, warm and dry. They correctly guessed that the rucksack contained clothes, a sleeping bag, food and water, a mobile phone, waterproofs and a toothbrush, among other objects. Many of the students commented that they wouldn’t be able to fit all the things that were important to them in one rucksack.
The sessions finished with a discussion about how best to support people who are street homeless. The students were encouraged to talk to their friends and family about the myths and realities about homelessness that they had learnt during the session. Some of the students felt inspired to donate items to First Base Day Centre to help keep men and women who are homeless in Brighton and Hove safe and well.