Campaign to end youth homelessness launched

The collaboration saw “invisible” wire sculptures of young people placed in major train stations across the UK.

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A campaign to make the invisible, visible has been launched, with artist and sculptor David Oliveira heading the movement.

End Youth Homelessness (EYH), a cohort of local charities, has implemented the #NOWYOUSEEME collaboration across major train stations and shopping centres across the UK, aiming to raise awareness around the issue of hidden homelessness.

According to the charity, in 2018, 103,000 16-25-year-olds asked their local authority for help because they were homeless or at risk, with 52% receiving no documented support.

It is this forgotten group that is often forced to “sofa-surf”; sleeping on the floors and sofas of friends or acquaintances, with the group adding that they often resort to more desperate measures to bed down for the night – sleeping on night buses or injuring themselves for a hospital bed.

The sculptures will be in Birmingham New Street Station from 30th April to 2nd May, with the group encouraging the public to engage with the campaign by sharing #NOWYOUSEEME on social media.

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The campaign was conceived by an Advertising Producers Association collective of production and media experts including The Mill, Black Dog Films, Prettybird, and Iconoclast, as well as editorial platform Little Black Book.

The campaign is also supported by EYH corporate partner Eversheds Sutherland.

On his involvement in the campaign, artist David Oliveira that he wanted to create the sculptures using traditional drawing techniques, using wire as a line moving through the space to create outlines.

“I chose this design solution because of its ability to express vulnerability and invisibility; both of which are important themes for hidden homeless young people. The empty spaces between the wire add an ethereal quality and communicate the fact that the body isn’t fully visible”, he said.

Nick Connolly, Managing Director at End Youth Homelessness said: “Youth homelessness is overlooked and misunderstood. EYH’s Member charities do their best for young people every day but unless society share this responsibility too many of today’s homeless young people will become the rough sleepers of the future.

“The #NOWYOUSEEME campaign is a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves of the inspiring capacity of young people to overcome the challenges they face if they receive the right support at the right time.”

Network Rail’s Sustainability Strategy Manager, Sarah Borien added: “April 2019 marks the start of Network Rail’s five-year charitable giving programme “Routes out of Homelessness”, which aims to tackle the ever-growing problem of homelessness and rough sleeping across Great Britain.

“With many people using stations and railway arches for shelter, we are keen to raise awareness and support vulnerable people by working charity partners at a national and local level.”

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