More than 20 YPI groups have represented Steps to Hope since it launched two years ago, securing more than £10,000 for the homelessness charity.

In the 2019/20 academic year, #generationchange secured £26,000 for homelessness charities, recogning the incredible work of support service organisations such as Steps to Hope.

As well as the importance of funds, Trustee at the charity Rosalyn Donaldson believes the direct conversations young people have with homeless people offer vital life lessons. She said:

“Speaking directly to someone dealing with homelessness makes young people aware that they are mostly ordinary, everyday people who, through unfortunate circumstances, may have lost their jobs, families and eventually their homes.

“We also try to raise awareness of alcohol and substance abuse in  a way that can’t be taught in the classroom. Actually, talking face-to-face with an addict in recovery, which we also encourage them to do, can address many of their misconceptions about addiction. This in turn, may discourage them from embracing the notion of trying drugs for themselves.”

Pre-lockdown, young people were encouraged to visit the charity’s soup kitchens and engage with people to understand the human cost of lockdown to incorporate within their YPI Showcase. Rosalyn added:

“Our service users also enjoy the interaction and are always willing to help the young people in any way that they can.”

The charity believes raising awareness and engaging with young people is important in terms of education, as well as attracting future volunteers. One YPI student has become a regular volunteer, alongside his mum who he encouraged to get involved.

Due to lockdown, Steps to Hope had to close their soup kitchen and deliver food using a catering van seven days a week to 90 people a day. The funding secured by #generationchange has been a vital support in these efforts.