On 14th March, The Howarth Foundation hosted its inaugural homelessness seminar at Elland Road Stadium, home of Leeds United FC.
We were delighted that LUFC managing director, Angus Kinnear, opened the seminar to discuss how businesses across Leeds can do more to tackle homelessness across the city.
Angus told more than 50 senior business figures from over 30 companies across the Leeds City Region that the football club gave its full backing to The Howarth Foundation, and is “committed to leveraging its ability to create a profile around the issue”.
The Howarth Foundation’s first seminar was designed to showcase the work the Foundation delivers to secure training and employment opportunities for homeless and recently homeless individuals from across Leeds and Kirklees.
Commenting on the issue of homelessness across the city, Mr Kinnear told the delegates:
“In Leeds, we have extremely contrasting areas in the city such as Granary Wharf and Holbeck Moor, where wealth and poverty live practically side by side. But when it comes to homelessness, it’s not just about where you live growing up or the life choices you make; that is where the issue is misunderstood.
“Many think it’s about poor life choices, but that is seldom the case. With many individuals who become homeless because of a substance dependency, it’s just as likely to be someone in their family who is plagued by the dependency that forces them onto the streets as it is for the homeless individual to actually be the one who is substance dependent.”
The Howarth Foundation’s ‘Business Building Futures – Street2Feet’ programme works with more than 20 partner companies across Leeds and Kirklees to provide skills training, work experience and employment opportunities to individuals who have been identified as ready to re-enter full or part-time employment.
In 2017, we were thrilled when the programme received official backing from Leeds City Council and support from Leeds City Housing.
Delegates on the day also heard from Stephen Russell, group managing director of Leeds-based Ringways Motor Group. Stephen spoke about his experience of providing employment to a previously homeless individual who came through The Howarth Foundation’s Street2Feet programme.
We were delighted that we were also joined by speakers including Leeds-based charities Change Grow Live, St Anne’s Resource Centre and St George’s Crypt, as well as Leeds Housing Options.
Andy Howarth, The Howarth Foundation’ CEO and founder, said:
“With high profile organisations such as Leeds United Football Club, Ringways Motor Group and Leeds City Council giving us their backing and helping to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness, we have made some real traction in placing individuals back into skills training and employment over the last 12 months.
“I would encourage businesses and individuals to find out how their support can help us continue to extend our reach and help more people who have experienced homelessness take the first step back into employment.”
More information on The Howarth Foundation can be found online at www.howarthfoundation.org.uk, or by calling Andy or Natalie on 01274 864 999