Nobody street homeless in Brighton & Hove by 2020. Is it mission possible?

Photo credit Katariina Jarvinen

Sleeping rough? It's not exactly a dream. And Brighton Housing Trust's ambition is for nobody to be street homeless in Brighton and Hove, by 2020.  That's in 4 years. What a compelling proposition.

So when hands started shooting up in the audience at SheSays on Wednesday night, making pledges to support the Brighton Housing Trust (BHT), I knew we'd hit the spot. 

It was a joy to see the emotion we'd stirred turning into action. Action to help people who need it most, those right here on our doorstep, in the streets of this city of Brighton that we are lucky enough to call home. 

Rifa Thorpe-Tracey; who runs SheSays Brighton, part of the global network of Women in Tech, had asked Vicki Hughes  and me to share our personal stories at the May 2016 event.

I've talked a lot about Propellernet in the past, but I've never shared my story and the motivation that drives me to run Propellernet in the way that we do; with a sense of purpose, with an ambition to Make Life Better, for our clients, their customers, our team and our community.

As part of this I shared our philosophy on dreams, not only the Dreamball machine - which is symbolic of our approach, but the strategy of making our dreams part of our business plan. Because work should enable us to encompass our whole lives, not just to be in the pursuit of cold hard cash. 

Clearly, money is important, however having a sense of purpose in the generation of it makes for a better journey for us all. Ironically it makes commercial sense too, as we have a highly engaged team and clients so happy with our relationship that they are regularly recommending us to others, making current and new business a dream.

Dan Pearson, Tech SEO consultant at Propellernet, brought our Make Life Better purpose into the spotlight in his Dreamball Consultation last Christmas. He said that amongst all the things he wanted to do, the one thing he would love to try is to help tackle the homeless issue in Brighton, after progressively seeing more and more people sleeping rough on our streets and not knowing what to do to help. We shared Dan's dream with the rest of the agency and with the amount of energy that came back, decided that this was definitely going to become part of our business plan. 

We've started working with BHT, putting our creativity into coming up with awareness and fundraising ideas. Shesays was the perfect platform to share this and as part of the evening, we held a panel;

  • Andy Winter, CEO Brighton Housing Trust
  • Linda Hubbard, Founder of Dream Valley Projects 
  • Dan Pearson, Propellernet

to explore the issue further. With the idea being that collectively, as a business community, we can have a bigger impact by working together.

And it's happening…in hitting the spot with our audience of 300 at the Hilton meet up, Andy shared that we've generated enough pledges to stock the First Base homeless shelter in Hove with many essential items for a year.  Items that you and I take for granted as part of everyday life; tea, coffee, towels, dishwasher tablets. Items that will help around 100 of our homeless community to feel a little comfort each day. 

Thank you to Nadine Schofield from PMOD, Rebecca Kimber from Create, Nicole Bradfield from NEO and Claire Hopkins from Ideal - you certainly got the ball rolling.

It's not enough. But it's a start. We need to focus on the generation of cold hard cash because in this context, money really is important - there are many ideas that we're working on;

First up is Linda Hubbard's mountain climb. Linda is climbing Mont Blanc in June, to raise money for our homeless, for those who are climbing their own mountain every day.  Check out her justgiving page. And if you can, stick your hand up to pledge to help - well, stick it in your pocket and donate - that would be amazing. 

And we may just help to make that ambition, mission possible.

By Nikki Gatenby

31 May 2016