As part of Colleges Week 2020, we’re looking at the importance of colleges in supporting their local communities, with a focus on how our own students launched a charity to help raise awareness of poverty and address homelessness across Birmingham.
Colleges are hugely important hubs for their local communities – and South & City College Birmingham is no exception. Besides the economic benefits to local businesses, through spending on goods and services by staff and students alike, colleges also support their local community in many other ways.
South & City staff and students are generous with their time to raise money for all sorts of causes throughout the academic year. No more so than the second-year A Level Sociology students from our Longbridge (Bournville College) campus, who created the organisation You[th] Against Poverty (YAP).
YAP was formed in 2017 by students who felt strongly about how poverty and inequality was increasing in the city and wanted to do something about it. They paid to register their organisation as a Community Interest Company at Companies House and created the Help 4 the Homeless Project as an on-going long-term survey. YAP take the view that there are already a number of groups and individuals that discuss poverty and homelessness in the city. However, YAP believe in direct action to identify the causal factors of poverty, before the potential effectiveness of practical solutions can be discussed.
The membership of YAP changes each year, when the new second-year A Level students take the place of those who have left the college to go to university. Apart from members of staff, student groups and others who have donated to the Help 4 the Homeless Project, YAP has not received any financial support. Everything they’ve done so far has been funded by way of donations. As such, it is difficult to measure outcomes – one reason being that all resources received so far have been directly donated to rough sleepers in Birmingham City Centre, another being that there are no processes in place – for any Government institution or NGO – to accurately measure success in addressing homelessness. Nevertheless, You[th] Against Poverty has raised awareness of poverty in the city and mobilised like-minded donors to support their cause.
Should you wish to help this worthy cause, YAP are looking for donations of the following items:
- Bottled water and non-perishable food
- Winter clothing
- Sanitary and hygiene products
Donations can be left at our Longbridge (Bournville College) campus reception, for the attention of Dennis Hamilton. All donations are appreciated and will be distributed to the homeless in Birmingham.
Visit the YAP website to find out more about You[th] Against Poverty and their fantastic work.