Spotlight On: Crisis

We’re proud to work with some fantastic charity clients here at Flourish. To celebrate International Day of Charity, we asked George Shelley, Legacy Executive at Crisis, to share some of his highlights from the past 12 months.

In your view, what are the biggest challenges facing homeless people in the UK right now?

There are so many external pressures that can force people into homelessness, whether it’s the high cost of private rented accommodation, or the uncertainty of being on a low-paid zero-hour contract. Added to this is the fact there is a huge shortage of decent, genuinely affordable housing in the UK. All this means that once you find yourself without a place to call home, it can be very hard to work your way out of that situation.

Are there any Crisis projects that are particularly close to your heart, and if so, why?

Crisis is most well-known for our Christmas campaign, where we welcome thousands of people into our temporary centres over the festive period. However, I’m most inspired by the amazing work that happens week in, week out, at our Skylight Centres around the country. At Crisis we look at every aspect of an individual’s situation and the reasons for them being homeless. Then we work with them to improve their mental health, physical wellbeing and financial stability step-by-step. As part of this, we offer the opportunity for them to take professional and vocational courses to increase their experience, skills and self-confidence.

What are you most proud of from the past 12 months at Crisis?

I’m proud of how the organisation has reacted to the coronavirus pandemic. Crisis was an integral part of the initial campaign to provide emergency accommodation for people who were sleeping rough. Although this was only a temporary solution to a public health emergency, rather than an end to homelessness, there’s no doubt it saved lives and helped protect people from the first wave of the virus. Since then we’ve adapted our services, offering sessions and classes over Zoom and distributing mobile phones and vital support packages. Not to mention behind the scenes, support teams such as Fundraising and Marketing all having to adapt to working remotely.

What would you say to someone who wants to do more to help end homelessness?

Support Crisis! Whether through donating, fundraising, volunteering or adding your name to our campaigns. All the opportunities can be found on our website. Other than that, look at what you can do in your local area, as there are always grassroots organisations that need support. And if you see someone on the street who you think may be homeless, why not stop and have a chat with them – if you feel comfortable. For many people who are sleeping rough, the isolation can be the worst part, so taking the time to ask someone how they’re doing can make a big difference.

What’s the best part of working for Crisis?

Knowing that I’m part of a unique organisation full of passionate staff and volunteers all working to end homelessness.