Student raising awareness of community issues
University of Warwick student, James Beavis, has raised more than £26,000 for charity Crisis, which raises money for homeless people.
The 22-year-old Biomedical Science student from Devon spent eight nights sleeping rough in Lewisham, from December 22 to December 30.
Missing Christmas with his family and friends, he said his motivation was twofold: “I wanted to get people challenging the stigma and stereotype attached to homelessness. People don’t realise how difficult being homeless actually is. Every day is a struggle. “I only did it for eight nights and nine days, but people go through this struggle 365 days of the year.”
James continued, saying: “The second reason is to gain donations for Crisis. Charitable giving has dropped by a fifth this year. I don’t want the vulnerable turned away just because people can’t afford to support them.” To this end, James has exceeded most people’s expectations, raising almost £23,000 in donations, which equates to just under £27,000 including gift aid. The money raised will pay for 1,300 places at a crisis at Christmas centre. These are not just for Christmas; they include medical care and food as well as advice on a range of issues that will last throughout the year. Most donations ranged from £5 to £30, but several individual donations were given in excess of £1,000.
James’ first video diary, entitled ‘Homeless This Christmas – Ramblings Part 1’ has been viewed over 13,000 times on YouTube.In his videos he describes the ordeal he went through and the conditions experienced by the homeless every day.
He said: “I am having to miss a meal to pay an internet cafe to upload these videos. “This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. The fear of being attacked and the bone aching cold give you a clear sense of vulnerability, with no sense of hope.” James is also the national convener for the National Student Fundraising Association (NaSFA), and intends to go into a career in disaster zone management.
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