Rough sleeper deaths remembered at Ilford town centre Christmas concert
PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:26 11 December 2018
Carolers lit candles to remember those who died homeless in the borough in the past year at a Christmas concert in Ilford town centre.
A five-strong Salvation Army brass band performed around a nativity scene set up on the steps of Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, on Friday, December 7.
They performed to raise awareness of and funds for crowdfunding campaign Redbridge Together, of which the Recorder is a media partner, which aims to tackle the borough’s rough sleeping crisis.
“It is easy to forget, because most nativities we see can be quite sanitised,” said Ilford SA captain John Clifton.
“But homelessness is not romantic and neither was the nativity.
“Jesus was born in a stable – a messy place.
“And a birth is both difficult and traumatic.
“But it also brings great joy.”
Nine rough sleepers have died in Redbridge since October last year, a Recorder investigation revealed.
A 10th former rough sleeper also died in temporary accomodation.
“There was an opportunity to remember them by lighting candles,” captain Clifton added.
“And also think about how we can support light in the darkness.”
Redbridge Together aims to raise £500,000 for Project Malachi and The Welcome Centre.
Project Malachi will see the creation of a temporary hostel for rough sleepers and homeless people made from recycled shipping containers in Chadwick Road.
Support workers from charity Ramfel will provide rough sleepers living in the hostel with immigration advice if they need it.
The Welcome Centre, in St Mary’s Road, helps with providing hot meals, showers, clothing and laundry but also advice and support, training and employment and a nurse-led clinic supporting health and mental health.
Businesses can support by donating money, raising funds, displaying Redbridge Together promotional material or offering work placements.
The campaign is an association between Ilford Salvation Army, The Welcome Centre, Ilford BID, the Ilford Recorder and Redbridge Council.
To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate £3 by texting LIFE to 70145 or at Crowdfunder.co.uk/RedbridgeTogether