by Georgie Isaacson
Centrepoint was founded in 1969 by Reverend Kenneth Leech and since then has worked tirelessly towards giving homeless young people a safe and happy future, currently providing this for over 9,200 homeless 16-25 year olds. This has been done through alleviating homelessness in short term – providing emergency shelters and hostels 7 days a week – and in the long term – providing safe places for individuals to live for up to 2 years and providing support for additional months after this to ensure successful independent living. The work of Centrepoint goes even beyond providing safe accommodation: they also provide essential mental and physical health support in addition to providing life skills, education and training from specialists and employment: tools to ensure that the people they help are never forced into homelessness again. Centrepoint has inspired others from start to present day and will continue to do so in the future. In 1986 a city broker, Richard Lester, on being asked for money for a cup of coffee by a homeless man, Martin Shaw, gave him £5000. Martin used this Money to start Centrepoint’s first dedicated hostel with over 100 beds, and to this day Centrepoint has grown: helping more than 125,000 young people since its establishment.
Looking towards the future, now Centrepoint will be inspiring LJY in the form of our next Tikkun Olam Of The Year (TOOTY) project. This wonderful cause evokes many important matters – surrounding the core issue of homelessness – that will be educated about for the next year on LJY. This makes Centrepoint very well suited for LJY as these matters are closely aligned with our ideologies! Through enacting this TOOTY we will be able to develop our education and understanding of youth empowerment, and the importance of this, as shown through the work of Centrepoint who literally give individuals the tools to be empowered themselves. Furthermore, we will be learning more about economic inequality in the UK, a key factor in homelessness, to broaden our knowledge of the inequalities that exist around us so close to home and how we can approach this to work towards tikkun olam. Finally, LJY’s support of Centrepoint allows us to turn our hugely ideology of youth empowerment into action: as we ourselves will be empowered to cause direct change for the better of our world.