What a fantastic year 2017 was for culture in the city. During this, Hull Homeless Community Project turned seven and celebrated one whole year as a registered charity.

We kicked off 2017 in style by attending In With a Bang with some of our service users. The City of Culture team kindly donated some tickets and it was a great chance for families and individuals affected by homelessness to enjoy a wonderful event and feel part of the community.

The City of Culture effect continued to live on amongst the HHCP team throughout the next twelve months. Our Street Photography Exhibition in February took a closer look at the daily lives, interests and creativity of Hull’s homeless community. Every image was taken by a homeless individual on a disposable camera and printed onto A3 paper. A collection of the thought-provoking images was displayed to hundreds of visitors at Bespoke Boutiques.

We were also chosen by the Neil Hudgell Trust as one of their official charities. A family of three elephants was created from recycled cardboard by Laurence Vallières. They will continue to travel around the UK to increase awareness and open up a much-needed discussion on “the elephant in the room” that is homelessness.

On top of this, we had some fantastic volunteers, fundraisers and individuals that donated to our community appeals and helped us expand and carry on providing our services across Hull and East Yorkshire. The Acoustic Session at O’Reilly’s, organised by the wonderful Jenny Alexys Rogerson, was a huge success, bringing together families and local musicians to raise funds for our charity. We also hosted a second Big Sleep Out, which was a great way for families to try something a little different and explore the often taboo topic of homelessness with their little ones.

Becoming a member of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership was certainly a highlight for us too. Since joining, we’,ve been able to voice the concerns surrounding homelessness and slavery with over sixty agencies across the Humber Region. Our founder, Andrew Smith, became Chair of the organisation later in the year and is now dedicated to fighting slavery and trafficking in the area.

All of your support has enabled us to expand our services and reach more people across the region. We launched a families weekend drop-in service in spring and later set up a female drop-in with the Together Women Project. The cherry on the cake was seeing the transformation of Herbie, our brand new mobile community hub that will travel around villages and rural spots in the East Riding, as well as raising awareness at local festivals and events.

We certainly spread our wings in 2017 and aim to do even more this year. Fancy helping us out? Get involved by emailing info@hullhomeless.co.uk.