From this week, you might start to notice drawings of houses popping up in windows across the UK. They’re being displayed as part of a heartwarming initiative from housing and homelessness charity Shelter, who are encouraging people to display the drawings as part of an upcoming event supporting families facing homelessness.
Shelter are planning to host the ‘UK’s biggest’ virtual carol concert on Thursday 3rd December. The concert will be live streamed and will aim to bring the nation together in song, as concert-goers stand in solidarity with those facing homelessness this Christmas.
Ahead of the event, concert attendees are being encouraged to display a drawing of a house in their window, in a show of support for the people Shelter helps and to show their communities that they’re taking part. Concert-goers can get creative and draw their own house from scratch, or use the template that Shelter will send via email to those who sign up to the carol concert.
Shelter’s ‘Home Hope Song’ concert will be hosted in the candle-lit church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, where the charity was founded in 1966. It will run for forty-five minutes, and be streamed via Shelter’s website. The service will be hosted by DJ and long-time Shelter supporter Edith Bowman.
Many Christmas traditions are unable to go ahead this year. But Shelter hopes that thousands of people and families coming together to create the UK’s biggest virtual carol concert – and display drawings of houses in their windows – can foster a new moment of festive connection for the nation at this critical time.
The service will feature the stories of people who have been supported by Shelter, as well as exclusive appearances from famous faces including Julie Walters, Stephen Fry and Robert Rinder.
The carol concert is an opportunity to sing together in solidarity with those experiencing or facing homelessness, as well as reflecting on the year gone by.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said: “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.”
Why Shelter needs your help
In England, hundreds of thousands of people – including families with young children – were already homeless when the pandemic first took hold, with a household becoming homeless every four minutes. The economic chaos of the pandemic means that many more people are facing homelessness for the first time this year; and some of them will be forced to sleep on the streets this winter.
Shelter is fighting hard to help those who are worst affected by the pandemic find (and keep) a safe and stable home. The charity’s frontline services will continue to work tirelessly over the coming weeks; but as growing numbers of people need Shelter’s support in this time of crisis, so do the charity urgently need yours.
The concert will be free to stream, but any donations made will support Shelter’s work. As the event sponsors, Nationwide Building Society will match fund donations up to £43k.
The public can sign up for the carol concert for free via www.shelter.org.uk/carols, and receive a welcome pack which includes fundraising inspiration and a ‘house’ template to be displayed in a window.