Wiltshire Publications

Local woman’s quest for caring about the homeless

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A WESTBURY woman, Michelle Coleman, is hoping to raise awareness of homelessness by creating an online community, sharing ideas of how people can help the homeless in the area. 

Michelle started the ‘Homeless Hearts’ Facebook group in August this year which has then led to a Youtube channel and Instagram page, where she encourages conversation about homelessness and shares the work of charities and organisations. It is World Homeless Day on Thursday 10th October and Michelle is keen to work with the community to raise awareness. 

Speaking to White Horse News Michelle said, “Having found myself in difficult situations in the past, and then experiencing serious mental health issues in 2017, I knew one day I would want to do something to give voice to those who I feel are the most vulnerable; the homeless community.

“I am a compassionate person and I’m keen to help others understand the homeless are just like us. Each person has their own story of why they are homeless and it is not for us to judge. They are just people without homes and instead of judging someone by their past, I am keen that we support people to build their future. So many of us are two paychecks away from being homeless, it could happen to anyone.

“I do this entirely in my spare time. I’m not here to become a charity, there are many organisations who do this. I’m here to promote the work they do and how we can get involved. 

“I’m keen to educate all of us on why people are homeless and what we can do to help.  I want to encourage conversation. I want people not to walk the long way when passing a homeless person. I want them to stop and say hi, to treat the homeless as individuals, as people.  I’m starting a campaign online with the hashtag #dosomething4 thehomeless so people can post and share what they are doing.

“I don’t know everything, I’m learning, but I’m passionate to do all I can to help and my education approach is to ‘take everyone along with me’. I would like the opportunity to attend community groups or local businesses to do a talk or run a team building session – to further raise awareness – at no cost to them.

“I am visiting Westbury Girl Guides on Tuesday 8th and Thursday 10th October  to raise awareness with the younger generation, where we will play games which highlight what it might feel like to be homeless and what they can do to help. In January, I am visiting a Scout Cubs group in Wiltshire and I’ve met with the president of Westbury Lions to do some work with their younger group, the Leos.

“I am currently running an autumn campaign where I am collecting unused mobile phones to give them to the homeless to enable them to keep in touch with the services that could help them. Our target is 15, we  currently have 7 so far. I am also collecting donations of sanitary pads/tampons in support of the Homeless Period Campaign.” 

When asked what people in Westbury can do to help, Michelle said, “Like my page on Facebook or Instagram and share posts to raise awareness. Please support our autumn campaign too. 

“You can simply talk to family and friends about what they think – get conversations started! Let’s stop hiding away from homelessness. Buy the Big Issue magazine – it’s a ‘help up, not a handout’, donate to your local homeless charity. In Westbury we have ‘Helping the Homeless in the South West’ Facebook group run by Sarah. She collects donations and hands them out to those in the local area and finally, support local fundraising events!” 

You can contact Michelle via 07583 962474 or homelessheart@ outlook.com.  Facebook & Instagram: Homelessheart.uk  and coming soon: www.homelessheart.net