Students bid to aid homeless women

Five students from Leeds Beckett University have joined forces with Leeds-based homelessness charity, Simon on the Streets to launch an International Women’s Day campaign.

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 9:31 am
Updated Friday, 22nd February 2019, 9:32 am

Working in partnership with the charity to re-name it ‘Simone on the Streets’, the campaign aims to highlight female rough sleepers which are often forgotten.

According to government statistics, 14 per cent of rough sleepers in the UK are women. Studies suggest three in 10 women experience sexual violence while homeless, and nearly one in four female rough sleepers have been sexually assaulted in the past year.

Simon on the Streets advise that 35 per cent of female rough sleepers attribute violent disputes in personal relationships as the reason for them leaving accommodation.

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The event management students - Ginni Donaghy, Tina Burns, Emily Priest, Poppy Valentine and Jae Manwaring - have arranged a charity event on International Women’s Day, Friday March 8, at bar Fibre, Leeds from 5-10pm.

There will be stories from women affected by homelessness and live music, a raffle and a game of ‘feminist bingo’.

Project managing the event, student Ginni Donaghy said: “We were tasked with launching a campaign for International Women’s Day and were introduced to Fiona at Simon on the Streets who explained how they care for females on the streets.

“We’re a group of strong feminists and wanted to hold our campaign in support of the local charity which is solely focused on supporting people who don’t tend to receive support.”

Tickets, £2, from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/international-womens-day-celebration-tickets-56986668660

Simon on the Streets works with local people who are affected by homelessness.

Fiona Hobson, admin, communications and volunteer coordinator at Simon on the Streets said: “The homeless are often tarnished with the same brush and assumptions made that they end up on the streets having fallen into drink and drug abuse but for women in particular, they are often running away from domestic abuse.

“They can end up in sex work in exchange for accommodation which is why they aren’t as visible on the streets.

“Women have the added pressures of dealing with sanitary issues and so we need to support them to get back on their feet in a different way to the males we support.”

Established in 1999 Simon on the Streets is an independent charity which relies solely on sponsorship, fundraising and donations.

It offers street-support to individuals who have complex needs and cannot access mainstream services, due to behavioural issues or mental illness.

The students aim to raise £300 for the charity to continue its work.