What is Sense our Streets?
Sense our Streets is a 45 min free audio tour created in collaboration by young people who have experienced homelessness and received services from YPSF (now Centrepoint) and S.A.L.V.E. International. They wanted to show the true impact of living on the streets. That homelessness is a global problem, which is too often hidden and ignored.
The audio tour, based in the Northern Quarter of Manchester (but can be listened to online anywhere), is designed to help others to better understand the experience of being a homeless young person. It encourages people to look at the streets differently, and shares real stories of homelessness on the way around.
“Some nights you just don’t sleep at all; you wander around to keep yourself warm and awake. If I do find somewhere to sleep on my own, I don’t get kicked out as much, I think it’s because I’m a girl. If I’m with lads, then we will be moved on. People obviously feel bad for me as most young people sleeping on the streets are boys. I don’t beg, I think it is degrading. Instead I’ll ask for a cig, or a pound. But because of the way I look people sometimes don’t believe I’m homeless. They think I’m just being cheeky, trying to scab off them.” Samantha, homeless, aged 23 from Manchester.
“I chose to go on the street because of the terrible situation at home; however it wasn’t easy fending for myself. I started picking waste food from the dustbin. It was too smelly and sometimes I could see maggots moving in it. It didn’t taste right, but at least it made my stomach quiet, for a while. I regretted going on the street; I never wanted to be the boy in the rubbish skip. People in the community laugh at me and call me names.” Christopher, formerly homeless, aged 12, from Uganda.
A special thank you goes to the Clore Social Leadership Fellowship and the Oak Foundation for funding the creation of this audio tour as part of a research project exploring impact in small organisations working with children and youths that are living and working on the streets.
A big thank you goes to the Koffee Pot for hosting the tour at their café and supporting the project.
Another thank you goes to Bitone Troupe and Second Hand Wings for allowing us to use their amazing music to bring our audio tour to another level.
We also want to thank UCOMM, the Ugandan community in greater Manchester, and the East African Society at Manchester Universityy for supporting the project.