With elusive artist Banksy having posted one of his most poignant pieces to date in Birmingham City Centre this month, property consultancy Harris Lamb felt it was a good time to invite more people to support its mission to help the homeless this Christmas.
Every year, Harris Lamb invites employees and clients alike to make a contribution to its hamper for the homeless, which the team then delivers to Birmingham Christmas Shelter.
Sam Aslam, who oversees the donation project on behalf of the business said: “Banksy’s Jewellery Quarter artwork has made a lot of headlines in the past few days, and it seems to have encouraged some festive feeling amongst those who have seen it, with them having donated food and drinks to Ryan – the homeless man sleeping on the bench where the reindeer mural appeared.
“Anything that encourages people to support those less fortunate themselves this winter can only be a good thing, and with that in mind, we’re welcoming any additions to our donations hamper. For the last few years, we’ve taken warm clothing, toiletries and food to Birmingham Christmas Shelter to help it feed, clothe and entertain those people who rely on it for warmth and shelter.
“The shelter will open this year at 10am on Christmas Eve, and will operate 24 hours a day until 10am on 28th December. It makes no charge and people are able to just turn up for support. The shelter receives no funding and relies of donations of cash, volunteer time and goods to operate. It costs around £25,000 to open the shelter each year, feeding and entertaining around 120 guests a day and sleeping between 50 and 80 people each night – so every donation is a valuable contribution.”
Currently based at St George’s Community Hub in Great Hampton Row, Birmingham, the shelter aims top provide three hot meals a day and endless snacks and sandwiches to build up the resilience of rough sleepers to help them face the cold weeks ahead following the shelter’s closure, as well as a basic, warm place to sleep, daily entertainment and company and hot showers.
Birmingham Christmas Shelter was established in 1974 and originally known as Birmingham Open Christmas, becoming a registered charity in 1991. The key aim of the shelter is to provide a warm and friendly welcome to anyone homeless or in need of company during the Christmas week.
Sam added: “Anyone wishing to support our efforts can donate cash, warm jumpers and jogging pants, hats, scarves and gloves, new socks and underwear, toiletries, toothbrushes, crisps, individually wrapped cereal bars or chocolate bars and puzzle books.
“All donations can be dropped off at our Francis Road offices until December 20th, and we will pass them on to the shelter on their behalf.”