We are so proud to share that ELATT Sixth Form students recently partnered with Highway House a church and homeless shelter in Tottenham, North London to help improve conditions for rough sleepers in London. Highway House has a number of local homeless people who often sleep in their church hall. When the pandemic struck, no-one was allowed to sleep in the church hall due to social distancing rules. Thankfully, many were relocated in hotels during the pandemic, however some people were not found by outreach teams and some became homeless during the pandemic and could not access shelters for accommodation due to their closures so were faced with sleeping rough in terrible conditions.
In our Social and Personal Development sessions, our tutor asked our students how they would like to support the homeless. Their solution was to buy ten 'iglous', ordered from France, which could be set up in the church hall in the Highway House grounds or nearby, so that the homeless would now be able to sleep in the warm and dry without breaking social distancing rules. The students distributed these in March 2021 and also took part in befriending sessions with the homeless.
In the photo we see Emil who slept in Tottenham Green by Highway House. He said that he is happy with his Iglou and that it keeps him very warm.
Volunteering has been ongoing as part of the students Community Action Project. The volunteering involves; helping serve food and refreshment, sorting clothes, helping with cleaning and setting up the day centre and helping with the distribution and maintenance of the Iglous.
Throughout the project, our students have been working with Odd Eyes Theatre learning about camera skills and documentary making to produce a film which shows community action in action. It documents their understanding of homelessness and how their work with Highway House has given them an appreciation of the challenges faced by the homeless. The documentary also aims to raise awareness about homelessness amongst the ELATT community and encourage them to get involved in community action.
Summai, one of our students said “Helping out at Highway House has been a really good experience and I can understand more about homelessness and how it affects people's lives. I have learnt and used my skills to help out at this charity during our project at highway house I was really excited to get involved when we discussed it in class and I really wanted to get involved as it is something I am have very passionate about and I like helping people.”
Imtiaz, English and Personal and Social Development tutor at ELATT, said “Our students have been wonderful in how they jumped at the chance to volunteer with Highway House. They have really enjoyed it and learned a lot from their experience. As result of this, they would like to take part in further activities that would help the homeless.
Abigail from Highway House said “When ELATT reached out to us with the idea to purchase iglous for rough sleepers who have not been able to access statutory help, we thought it was great idea! We were very glad to partner with ELATT in making a difference in the circumstances that the pandemic has created, mainly the closures of open plan shelters. A number of people sleeping rough benefit from sleeping in the iglous. An extraordinary story... we had 6 international students who suffered from a fire in their property, leaving them homeless for 3 days! They used the iglous during that time outside of the shelter and they were very grateful for the provision.”