Formerly homeless artists encourage exhibitors to ‘think outside the box’
Budding artists who have been supported by HARP to overcome homelessness are inviting people to 'think outside the box' with a free Art Exhibition in Southend town centre, in collaboration with the Cultural Assembly who have kindly provided the free exhibition space.
After a prolonged period of homelessness it is not uncommon for people to report a loss of confidence, self-esteem and motivation as their strength has been spent overcoming crisis. Local homeless charity HARP provide a comprehensive meaningful activity programme to boost employability, improve life skills, re-build confidence, aid recovery, and offer vocational training opportunities.
At HARP we support over 1,000 people every year, and we were recently awarded funding from Serving the Homeless allowing us to purchase equipment and materials to make sculptures. Southend Adult Community College (SACC) have also helped by providing expertise, guidance and support with the project.
Paul Hand, 64, was made homeless in December and was supported by HARP to access emergency shelter. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated and he spent the festive season in hospital. He underwent heart surgery and was later discharged, but he recalls “if I didn’t have a room at HARP I would have been discharged to the streets.”
Paul is now back to good health and has successfully found a home of his own with HARP’s support, and is now enjoying volunteering for the charity. He said “I would like to think I am an inspiration to those at HARP, both as a former resident and because of what I’ve been through.” He continued “I have made several good friends and have grown as a person over these last few months. I was quite distressed when I came to HARP, but I am now moving on and I hope to support others to do the same.”
If you are interested in art and sculpture, or would like to know more about how HARP's meaningful activity programmes have helped people to recover from homelessness, then pop along and meet the artists themselves. The exhibition can be found at No.3 Chichester Road, Southend On Sea, SS0 8JP and is open until Wednesday 13th June everyday between 10am-4pm.