LandAid yesterday raised £266,000 for youth homelessness projects at a gala dinner to celebrate our 30th anniversary. The event, held at London’s Guildhall and supported by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, was attended by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and 500 of the industry’s senior figures.
The dinner also marked the launch of LandAid’s new capital appeal to help create a state-of-the-art 146-bedroom building near Old Street. Half of the money raised on the night will go toward our target of £1.5m for this important initiative that will provide much-needed accommodation for London’s young people. The building, which is owned and run by City YMCA London, is due to open in autumn 2018, and will offer a safe place to live for 146 young people as well as advice on housing, education, training and well-being.
Dean, a former resident of the Errol Street hostel, who spoke movingly on stage about his experiences of homelessness, said: ‘I have felt the pain and damage homelessness can do to a person so I know the impact your generosity will have on people without a home. It is essential that every human has accommodation. It is a right, not a luxury. LandAid – by funding projects to help young homeless people around the county – is helping to make this a reality.’
The remaining funds raised on the night will be used to tackle the scandal of empty homes in the UK by converting derelict street properties into decent housing for vulnerable young people.
Guests were later treated to an uplifting piece of music-led theatre by ten young actors, each with experience of homelessness and all of whom had auditioned, been employed and rehearsed for this specific play. The performance, commissioned by LandAid and created by Cardboard Citizens, shared the experiences of Shelley, an everywoman who through the course of the piece negotiates different aspects of homelessness and explores what it means to have a home. The actors were joined on the stage by the Choir with No Name, a 60-strong community of singers brought together through shared experiences of homelessness.
The Duke of Cambridge has been a passionate advocate for the cause of youth homelessness for many years, and his attendance at the event signalled the importance of LandAid’s efforts to tackle this growing problem. Prior to the dinner, The Duke attended a small reception during which he met LandAid’s key supporters and a number of young people involved in the event.
Paul Morrish, Chief Executive of LandAid, said: ‘The property industry has shown it can be a real force for good. It has a great track record of raising money for good causes. The crisis of youth homelessness is urgent and growing – solutions are needed now. Few industry sectors are better placed to respond, and we’re delighted that the Gala Dinner signalled such an enthusiastic and generous willingness to do so. We’re grateful too to our wonderful sponsors and supporters without whom it would not have been possible.’
Craig McWilliam, Chief Executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: ‘LandAid’s inspiring work should encourage us all in the property sector to give more. Youth homelessness can be tackled, lives can be transformed and opportunities can come alive with coordinated effort. By demonstrating their commitment to LandAid’s most recent campaign, property leaders can join forces with a common purpose.’
The LandAid Gala Dinner was kindly sponsored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland (headline sponsor), Allsop, Helical and Knight Frank.