Homeless writing comp print cover
Bolton Sixth Form College have just produced a fundraising book of poetry and prose, highlighting the plight of the homeless. The initiative started off as an idea between Bolton Sixth Form College student Jake Kirkman and Sharon Jones (Senior Tutor and Literacy Coordinator) about how to raise awareness about homelessness, although it quickly grew into something much bigger. The Sixth Form held a writing competition for people to write poems, short stories, relevant articles and songs and there were around 40 responses, with the best making it into the book. The support from outside the college was fantastic with Dave Spikey, Johnny Vegas and Ian Rankin supporting the project on Twitter.
This aim of the book was to raise awareness about homelessness because, as Jake says, it’s a black and white issue – it’s there for us all to see and it shouldn’t be ignored. He is keen to stress that this isn’t a reactionary response, but an attempt to change the way people think about homelessness. It is hoped that this book will make people question why, in a country like ours, there are still people without a home and struggling to get a basic meal. Another aspect of the project is to promote literacy skills (Literacy Matters is an important theme at the College) because, according to research done by the charity St Mungo’s, homeless people are considerably more likely than the general population to lack the basic English skills needed to manage everyday: this may be due to poor experiences at school, traumatic experiences or learning difficulties such as Dyslexia.
The book is on sale for £1, and all proceeds will be donated to Bolton Young Persons’ Housing Scheme,  a charity which helps young homeless people in Bolton. Urban Outreach, Shelter, Big Issue North and Bolton NHS Foundation have also given their endorsement and it helps to support the great work they do. To buy a copy of the book, or to find out more, email sjones@bolton-sfc.ac.uk or jake-kirkman@hotmail.com or ring the Bolton Sixth Form College on 01204 846215.
Thanks for support also go to Denise Norse (Administration Manager and Principal’s PA), Giles Bennett (Assistant Principle), Seán Simpson (College Chaplaincy), Ann Doyle (Administration Assistant) and Ian Thomas (Reprographics Assistant).