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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Staff at Beattie, the integrated communications agency, have been raising money for a non-profit organisation which helps cities tackle homelessness.

Street Support Network matches those who need help with individuals or groups which are able to assist them - working with more than 50 charities and grassroots organisations. Based in Manchester, the organisation also helps homeless people in Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford, Portsmouth and Bournemouth – with more cities hoping to come on board.

Beattie staff decided to raise funds by carrying out a series of Simple Pledges throughout December. Workers have been sponsored by colleagues to complete tasks, such as wearing a different Christmas jumper every day for a week, or doing the office tea round for a whole week. Two particularly talented staff members were sponsored to do comedy impressions, and palm readings, by colleagues.

Street Support Network is the brainchild of Gary Dunstan and Viv Slack, who have employed two people with experience of homelessness – including 56-year-old Graham Wood, a former copywriter and advertising man who has taken on a media and communications role. Funds raised by Beattie will go towards the continued funding of Graham’s position.

Gary Dunstan, co-founder of Street Support Network, said: “Because of Graham’s lived experience of homelessness, he has a unique insight that Viv and I will never have. The things he says will always have more clout because he knows. He’s been there. This experience and his voice can really help us change hearts and minds.”

Graham is helping to highlight the needs of homeless people and speaking at conferences across the country. He describes homelessness as a combination of ‘disorientation, exhaustion, bewilderment, loneliness, isolation and fear’.

Siobhan Chesher, head of Beattie’s Manchester office, said: “Working in the city every day, it’s clear that so many people won’t have homes to go to this Christmas and need crucial help and support.

“Our pledges are just a small gesture to help this fantastic organisation continue its essential work in 2018. The whole team has embraced their pledges, and it’s made for a very eventful December.”

Beattie Communications has 12 offices in the UK and Ireland, including London, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. Named the 2016/17 Large PR Agency of The Year, Beattie employs 130 PR, digital, social, advertising and creative specialists across the country, with clients including Specsavers, Merck, Kimberly-Clark, Flybe and French fashion brand La Redoute.



Graham's Story

Born in Cheshire, Graham Wood, 56, has been employed over the years as a copywriter/designer, taught English as a second language in various countries, ran a couple of bars in Greece, trained as an assistant canine hydrotherapist, been married, had a mortgage and in many instances, (in his own words) bitten off more than he could chew.

Graham has recently made a few short films, interviewing people who have been, or still are, homeless. You can see the short film interviews here: https://news.streetsupport.net/category/stories/

How did you become homeless?

Relationship breakdown. The rest is personal. It wasn’t a lifestyle choice.

What were the challenges?

Disorientation, exhaustion, bewilderment, loneliness, isolation and fear. You become invisible, desperate and helpless. You are not safe, you are not warm, you are tired, hungry and you are afraid. It’s the pits.

What would you say to people who see homeless people on our streets?

It could be your son, your daughter, your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your friend. It could be you - so be nice.

What would you say to our leaders?

Homelessness is a complex issue, we know that. Now make us proud to live in a country that cares.




For further information, please contact Donna White on 07503 337106