Winter 2019

I have been struck as I am sure that many people are by the volume of numbers that are thrown at us as human beings. Obviously in election time the numbers become more varied and increase again in the volume said and the volume that we are meant to believe/dismiss/analyse/understand.

Obviously questions are asked about which numbers are real, which are recounting numbers which have already existed and which numbers have already been spent so are not actually new numbers!! As we count down to Christmas and discuss with each other how many for Christmas dinner or how many miles will be spent driving to see loved ones there are also numbers which we cannot escape from and are real and now so visible in the UK that whatever the other numbers banded about, there must be action.  

A 165% increase in rough sleeping since 2010, over 300 people seen on street counts, 22 people coming to London’s streets every day and most terribly 726 people dying on UK streets last year. All which tell the tale of an issue which is growing and growing to epidemic proportions in its numbers and in almost the year 2020 is totally shocking and disturbing. Urgently safe and sustainable routes off the street through collective action and partnership are desperately needed. However what has also struck me recently is that every single one of the numbers relates to individual people affected. We must not forget the human side of these numbers.

I recently undertook a shadowing exercise in WLM’s front line services and everything that I saw was about the individuals who were using WLM for help. Everything was about the people I met and their personal, individual circumstances, their unique existence and the role we play in it. Each known by name and each encouraged, engaged with and supported accordingly by the teams.

Another number if you will forgive me, 6 months, is the time we have worked with the brilliant people at AMVBBDO who have helped WLM create its first advertising campaign #NotWhoTheyAre. The simple premise that for many of those who come to WLM, Homeless is what they are, not who they are. I will be committing this Christmas to not forgetting the human stories when everything seems like a numbers game because #NotWhoTheyAre. I hope that you and your family friends, whatever the number, have a very Happy Christmas.

Roger Clark