THIS winter, housing and homelessness charity Shelter are aiming to host the UK’s biggest virtual carol concert. The concert will bring the nation together in song, as concert-goers show their support for people facing homelessness this winter.
The ‘Home Hope Song’ concert will be hosted in the candle-lit church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, where Shelter 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 encouraging thousands of people and families to come together to create the UK’s biggest virtual carol concert can be a new moment of festive connection for the nation.
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.
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.
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.”
Ahead of the event, concert attendees are encouraged to display a drawing of a house in their window, as a symbol of solidarity for the people Shelter are supporting and to show their communities that they’re taking part. The public can get creative and draw their own, or use the template that Shelter will send via email to those who sign up to the carol concert.
Shelter is fighting hard to help those who are worst affected by the pandemic to 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.
Sign up for the carol concert for free via www.shelter.org.uk/carols and receive a welcome pack including ideas on creating a magical evening, fundraising inspiration and activities to support Shelter further.