With a cocktail of equal measures austerity and economic meltdown, they say you’re only ever two pay packets away from being on the streets yourself.
A little facetious and exaggerated maybe but a possibility? Most definitely. In a time of economic and social turmoil and homeless being a very real possibility for anyone amongst us, it is very easy to lose hope. But remember, once you choose hope, anything’s possible. A sentiment shared by Anna Grace Henney, the organiser of Hope Fest, a three day live music event hosted in venues all across Liverpool. Hope Fest started last March and was motivated by a spot of volunteering with a homeless organisation. Meeting people on the street touched her deeply and she was keen to break down the barriers between the homeless and the general public. After all, they’re people, just like you and I. A passionate and love for music combined with helping the homeless meant Hope Fest pretty much wrote itself.
After a successful first event, it inspired Anna to create a bigger festival six months later. It evolved from 2 venues over two days into 5 venues over three days. During the weekend she also held workshops in singing and songwriting for people who had experienced homelessness. Never underestimate the self medication of simply talking and this provided a creative outlet for many to be able to voice a difficult part of their lives that once might have been masked under a grey cloud of addiction. Two big events in and Anna isn’t content there. This September 15 venues across the city will be hosting local musical talent as well as involvement from Crisis, The Big Issue and The Whitechapel Centre. There will be around 200 acts performing over three days (18-20th September). The beauty and best part of the whole festival is that people can gain access to the event (a wristband for all 15 venues) by donating a ‘Hope Pack’ made up of essential items which can be put to direct use by our city’s homeless.
The music will be held in some of Liverpool’s best independent bars and venues across the city. Whilst the message is very important, the weekend is also very fun. For the price of a couple toothbrushes or shower gels you can watch some amazing live music in the knowledge that you’ve helped someone who needed it.
Wristbands will be available to collect from Friday 17th July. You can collect from either Brink Liverpool, East Village Arts club or The Baltic Social. To obtain a full weekend wristband, please take your HOPE PACK (details below) to either of the venues named above and exchange for your wristband. The items in the Hope Pack will be distributed between the homeless shelters in Liverpool such as The Whitechapel Centre, The Basement Advisory Centre and Liverpool YMCA and passed onto their service users.
Hope Pack must contain FIVE or more of the following items:
– Jumper/hoodie (can be second hand but must be in good condition. Smaller sizes preferred)
– Multipack of socks (must be new)
– Multipack of underwear i.e. boxer shorts or knickers (must be new)
– Pack of tampons/towels
– Multi-pack of Disposable Razors (mens or womens)
– Carton of UHT Milk
– Multipack of non-perishable food (such as pasta, tinned foods etc.)