‘Who are we as human beings if we ignore the suffering of others?’
I lived in the YMCA hostel in Walthamstow.
It was Christmas, but it wasn’t Christmas that year.
Christmas is not a time of year. It’s a holistic experience.
I’m asking you to join me in giving gifts that will keep on giving and shine a warm light on Christmas for those facing homelessness this year.
My dance company, ‘The Blair Academy’ is a London based dance organisation centred on the delivery of accessible Hip Hop dance experiences. We create opportunities for individuals to engage with dance, that may otherwise face barriers doing so. Our specialities include working with older adults, individuals with disabilities and those without permanent residence. Living in the YMCA hostel in my youth led to me wanting to make an impact amongst those facing homelessness through my company.
Since our launch in June, I have been curating Hip Hop workshops at various homeless organisations throughout London. The response has been incredible. Teaching in any capacity is rewarding but being able to provide a momentary escape for vulnerable homeless people is beyond explanation. I find myself completely moved by their stories and willingness to open up and share their lives with me. My sessions usually last for one hour but I have never been in a homeless organisation for less than two. I cannot help myself in terms of allowing these people to vent and express before we even think about moving.
This Christmas, I have chosen to deliver a Hip-Hop Dance project which provides a creative outlet for homeless people in London. My ambition for this project is for it to be more than dance workshops. I want to be instrumental in making a long-lasting difference to the day to day living of those who I work with. It’s great being able to offer momentary escapism, but I want to offer practical support to aid their daily lives.
That’s where I need your help…
Following on from successful engagement within Homeless organisations throughout London, I propose a series of workshops at which include the distribution of food parcels and care packages comprised of Winter essentials.
My work within homeless organisations so far has proved nothing short of incredible for me as a practitioner. For a margin of time, the service users within these organisations are able to share their stories with me whilst also sharing their time and the experience of moving together. Momentarily, they’re able to escape from the multitude of difficulties they are facing.
I work within Hip Hop Culture, because of its inclusivity and ability to celebrate difference. Stemming from oppression and poverty, Hip Hop speaks to the element of struggle within each of us. I understand the importance of giving marginalized groups the opportunity to partake in Artistic activities which resonate with them and their lives. Hip Hop dance is a fundamental tool in reaching and motivating those marginalized in society.
Over 9000 people were thought to wake up homeless in London last Christmas. Together, we can make a difference to those facing that prospect this year.
As well as delivering dance sessions which will promote wellbeing as well as an opportunity to socialise, I’d like to purchase the following items to distribute amongst my participants:
These items can be instrumental in life being a little more comfortable when you don’t have a permanent residence and will allow The Blair Academy to create an impact beyond the dancefloor.
This project will promote community cohesion; uniting locals via hip hop dance, promoting fitness and wellbeing and providing an excellent opportunity for people to engage in the creation of something they can feel proud of. The sessions will serve as a therapeutic outlet from the difficulties that arise through homelessness.
Both I and the people I work with would be beyond grateful for your support at this special, yet difficult time of year. Any contribution you are able to make will create an exceptional difference.
You can make a donation through our ‘GoFundMe’ page:
I would appreciate you sharing this among your network and encouraging those around you to get involved with making a true difference this Christmas!
Lots of love,