I got involved with the choir because I’d known Marie a little while – she’s the CEO and Founder – and she wanted someone with a background in homelessness, rough sleeping, working with vulnerable people to be a Trustee. I’ve been working in the homeless sector in London for about twenty years, and I currently manage teams at homeless charity St Mungo's who work with people who sleep rough. We have a range of teams who work in lots of different boroughs across the city. So I support of the choir not only because of the music, but because I understand what it can do for people who’ve been homeless
Institutions like the choir – and the opportunities it offers to homeless poeple – are rare. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go through our organisation, and it’s joining groups liek The Choir with No Name that change people’s lives. For someone affeected by homelessness, it's not just about having a key worker in a hostel, it’s about having those inspirational things like getting involved with music or drama, or doing something that you’re very passionate about. These sorts of things really matter on a profound & human level. I’m absolutely convinced that organisations such as CWNN are the future of getting people off the streets, staying off the street, coming off drugs, dealing with their mental illness, being loved, having relationships – all of the things that mean the most to all of us.
The breakdown of relationships is one of the key factors in why people become homeless and isolated. Statistically, people with good social networks don’t end up on the streets. Someone catches them first. We’re talking about people who don’t have anyone. At choir there are volunteers, staff, other members - someone who loves them, looks out for them, supports them – which means that they keep coming back.
But the main thing is the change you see in people. People who have come from horrific circumstances, traumatic childhoods, abusive relationships and not having a home who come to choir and then go on to make something of their lives. They move onwards and upwards, talking responsibility for their own futures, and they work it out. This is the main reason why The Choir with No Name is so important.