A photography calendar created by people with experience of homelessness has been launched for Christmas in a project managed by student Lucy Groenewoud.Free cameras, provided by Fujifilm, were given to 100 street homeless or people with experience of living on the streets in Brighton and Hove for the project, run by volunteers working with the homeless in the city, together with local members of The Royal Photographic Society.
Lucy, a student on MA Inclusive Arts Practices, has worked and volunteered with street homeless in the city for five years. The social enterprise project was run by volunteers and supported by the London-based Community Interest Company Café Art.
Lucy said: “The MYBRIGHTON & HOVE Photo Project provided an opportunity for individuals with experience of homelessness to share their narrative through photography, and to gain skills and confidence.
“All money raised from the sale of calendars will go back in to the project to support further creative opportunities for individuals affected by homelessness in the city.”
All photographers were given certificates for taking part and 20 won prize money, raised from a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Lucy said the awards ceremony celebrated the participants’ inspiration, creative expression and skills: “We also celebrated the role that creative expression plays in the recovery journey out of homelessness – we are so proud of our photographers.
MYBRIGHTON & HOVE Photo Project worked in partnership with local organisations supporting individuals who are vulnerably housed or homeless including Justlife Creative Art studios, and Brighton YMCA.
Briony Banks, Internal Communication and Client Engagement Manager Brighton YMCA, said: “The project recognised the amazing talents of people who don’t always get the recognition they deserve. People who were given cameras were also given a platform to have a voice and show their perspectives of the world, which means those who took part have felt empowered and acknowledged in a way that is unfortunately rare.
“This has enabled residents of Brighton YMCA to find a passion and purpose, some going on to photography courses, others having their work in a gallery to show their children, some will be able to earn money through their photos. We at Brighton YMCA are so proud of everyone who took part.”
One of the formerly homeless photographers who took part, Liam Bulpitt, said: “I loved the project, it’s given me something to do and think about. Before I took part I did a six-week photography course with Lucy Groenewoud. It’s changed my life, I’m now going to get mentored in my photography degree as a result.”
The calendars are being sold in shops and cafes around Brighton and Hove including HISBE, Small Batch Coffee, and the Royal Pavilion shop. Participants are also selling the calendar at Christmas markets and can earn an income from them.
The photographs will be on show on 4 November at the Brighton Unitarian Church.
Outlets wanting to stock the calendar can email Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org