On Tuesday 26 April the Heritage Project Officer visited Fairlight Primary School in Brighton to deliver an assembly about homelessness in the city.
120 students in Years 3 – 6 learnt about what it might be like to be homeless by imagining that they had to sleep on the hard, concrete school playground. They discussed some of the problems they might face regarding comfort, shelter, weather conditions, noise and security. They also heard from William, a former client of First Base, who had written a day diary for the students, to share with them some of the realities of not having somewhere to live.
To explore who can become homeless the students viewed photographs of eight people, including celebrities, and tried to guess who had experienced homelessness. The students learnt that all eight people had been homeless at some point in their lives, and that homelessness can happen to all sorts of people; anyone in fact. The Heritage Project Officer spoke about causes of homelessness, including family breakdown, debt, illness and addiction problems.
The students also considered which items someone would need to stay safe, warm and dry by guessing what was in a client’s rucksack. Among those items, the students correctly guessed a sleeping bag, clothes, food and water, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a towel and an umbrella.
The Heritage Project Officer finished the assembly by speaking about how BHT helps people who are vulnerable in Brighton and Hove, and how the students can support First Base Day Centre’s work by talking to friends and family about the realities of homelessness.
Fairlight Primary School’s newspaper club, which publishes ‘Fairlight Times’, will be following-up the assembly with an article about homelessness in Brighton and Hove. The students will interview a former client of First Base Day Centre about their experiences and memories of rough sleeping.