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Winter Aid for London's homeless

£20,227 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 243 people in 3 months
Created November 15, 2018
In the last 6 years we have supported 2500 homeless people. This winter we hope to make that 3000.

Under One Sky is run on a 100% voluntary basis from private donations. Every penny we receive ends up as support for the homeless. Our 400 volunteers make it possible for us to come to them on the streets.

During the winter we hand out gift cards, clothing, sleeping bags, meals, books and messages of hope and light to the homeless. The gift cards can be used to buy tents, winter clothing or other life necessities.

It all starts with meeting the homeless in the spirit of compassion. To make them feel they belong in this world just as much as anyone else. That they have not been forgotten - 8000 people slept rough in London in the last year.

Under One Sky was founded on the principle that humanity is ONE family…we are brothers and sisters regardless of nationality, race, religion, class or any other label.

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” Rumi

Unspoken Truths

Our street teams get to the truths that politicians and sensational headlines hardly touch.

·       We hear of lives filled with trauma and rejection right from childhood.

·       Deep emotional scars leading to mental health issues. 90% of homeless have mental health issues – depression being the most common.

·       Not to mention the lives of friends lost. In the past year 440 homeless people died in the UK – right before our eyes.

But other truths you rarely hear about either are:

·       The level of empathy among many homeless that most of us struggle to match.

·       The wisdom and social intelligence gained from a life of struggle.

·       The courage to tell strangers about their deepest scars and to let the tears flow.

You Make A Difference

Your funds will be spent on buying gift cards to shops that sell basic necessities such as tents, sleeping bags and winter clothing. These will be handed out at our Night for the Homeless events in London. The math is simple…for every £5000 we raise we reach 150 homeless people.

To appreciate your potential impact read two stories from our 2017/18 winter events below.

We can’t wait to bring your donation to those who are fighting to stay alive daily. Our first winter event is on 15 Dec 2018.

If you are not in a position to donate then we’d love shout-out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Street Success Stories

Our team who covered Oxford Street for our January event made an incredible difference to a homeless man’s life in less than a week. The team had a long chat with him and gave him the encouragement needed to get him to contact his estranged brother. The man used the £30 gift card we gave him to buy a mobile and minutes. He contacted his brother and within 2 days the brother had arranged for accommodation in a flat share. A huge win. One of the team members told him of a job opportunity at a company. A job interview arranged. He nailed the interview and got the job…and ended up being promoted within probation period. In 6 days, he went from the street to being housed and employed.

In Dec 2017 our Camden team met a homeless couple (G and L). G (male) was serving in the British Army in Afghanistan when a car crash took his wife and three daughters. His world crumbled…he lost job and home. L, his now female partner (then friend), stuck by him as his life disappeared like sand between his fingers. When our team met G he was undergoing chemotherapy on NHS. Sleeping on the streets…and receiving chemo. Two team members Mark and Marnie helped the couple with a deposit on a studio flat. With a roof over their heads L landed an office job and G landed a carpentry job. In only a few months this couple had a new path ahead of them.

We have heard many heart-breaking street stories over the years but often told by people with immense life spark. We have brought many smiles and hugs to those same people and we hope to bring many more this winter with your help.

Campaign Team

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Supporters


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Hi friend, our big event on Saturday was extremely special...we wish you could have been there. A 100 person strong team of Under One Skywalkers unleashed a tsunami of love, compassion and genuine connection with London’s homeless. I estimate we reached about 300 homeless and several were helped into hostels for the night right on the spot.
Once again children/teens made up 10% of our group. No doubt there will have been anxiety before we hit the streets that’s no different from the first time adults do this work. But they were so brilliant when it got to engaging with the homeless. I really admire their courage and respect their parents who invited the kids/teens out.

The sad fact is the streets were incredibly busy with homeless people last night. I was part of the Victoria station group and we didn’t even make it to the station from St James tube before we were out of all supplies. Usually that is our half way point on the route. While we met several familiar faces from our December event, the proportion of new faces are worrying.

Our Jan/Feb events are always highly welcomed as the Christmas cheer is long gone. What fortunate timing as the night temperatures are now back to freezing. As Scottish Mark who stays in Victoria Street said “In 2 weeks up to Christmas we have it good, the other 50 weeks of the year nobody cares about us”.

Saturday night the tears of joy and hugs were flowing, faces full of surprise at the supplies we brought and the gratitude for simply being recognised as a human being.

Personally, I am left with the memory of Anna who froze, started shaking before the tears gently rolled down her cheeks when she received the £30 Argos voucher so she could get a sleeping bag. She looked at me crying and stuttered “Why are you doing this, why are you so kind to me?”. It was a powerful question.

It is a sad state of affairs when kindness is the exception. Our first life priority should be to practice living from a place of kindness and compassion. The few moments of unkindness should be the missteps we learn from – we all make them.

Most of the homeless know exactly what they wish to buy when they are told about the £30 gift card…the most popular choices are tents, sleeping bags and mobile phones.

Stories from the streets will be shared in the next few weeks…but here are a few that will get immediate action and that you can get involved in.
- Our South Bank team met Johnny and Debbie outside Waterloo Station. When asked his future wish Johnny said “to go home to Glasgow to watch Celtic FC at Parkhead Paradise beat Rangers”. Celtic is playing Rangers at Parkhead on 31 March and we are going to try to get Celtic FC make Johnny’s wish come true.
- Our Oxford Street team met homeless film director David again. Back in Dec his future wish was to get a cinema screening of his film. Guess what…that wish has come true. His film MYSTIC DEMON KILLER is showing on 5 Feb @ 6pm at Screen on the Green in Islington (check out the video Foad did with David: https://youtu.be/aDxzq2xkFBA). Clearly several Under One Sky volunteers will be there in support. We’d love you to join as well. If you fancy it then email mikkel.jueliversen@dignityentertainment.com and we will get you on David’s list.

Last but not least…a bit of instant karma. Tonight, when I was walking my dog Mr Flinty I felt the freezing cold. I thought sleeping out tonight might take the life of the lovely homeless lady Jean who sometimes sits at the tube station. I rode up there with a sleeping bag and money for a hostel. She was there tonight – hobbling around with tears streaming down her face as she was so cold. Tomorrow Jean will still be alive – I hope all the other homeless will as well. As I returned back home our campaign had reached the magical £20,000 mark. We can’t thank you enough for all the support you have shown us…immense gratitude from us and more than 3000 homeless we have supported since 2012.

Mikkel on behalf of Under One Sky
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Dear friend, I wanted to send you a quick line just a few hours before our second bit event of this winter.
Today special, by the end of tonight Under One Sky will have supported 3,000 homeless people since its inception in 2012 when 8 people hit the streets in the pouring rain.

Our campaign has gained steam up this event and we are at £19,560 – just £440 off an incredible £20,000. The support we have received has been absolutely amazing – thanks to you.

Tonight, we have 100 volunteers covering Central London and last night we had a team doing all the packing. We are completely ready to once again make a true difference to those on the streets.

For the second time in our campaign we are receiving support from an artist. This time, painter Orlanda Broom ( https://orlandabroomartist.com/) is selling 4 artworks and donating 25% to Under One Sky. 3 of the works at bottom of this message (GoFundMe picture limit in updates). Orlanda can be contacted on info@orlandabroom.com for a brochure of all 4 works.

Orlanda’s landscapes represent fantastical, re-imagined places, which in some sense are a rose-tinted view of the natural world. The surface joyousness is tempered by an uneasy sense of abandonment, a place untouched and timeless but a paradise that would ultimately ensnare. That the wilderness is encroached upon and could itself be a lost is a concurrent theme.

Her large-scale commissions have included the lobby piece for the recently opened Four Seasons in Downtown New York, which is a 4x4m centre piece and a large abstract for the Mandarin Oriental in London

We look forward to sharing more from our event tonight in the coming days.

Mikkel on behalf of team Under One Sky
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Dear friend, here is a quick update to keep you on top of our activities.

We are gearing up for our next big event next Saturday 26th Jan. So far we have 114 volunteers signed up and ready to go. Our events at the start of the year are always greatly appreciated on the streets because by now the various charity activities around Christmas are now a sweet but distant memory. And for the last couple of years the winter cold has arrived in Jan/Feb. We are looking forward to getting back out there.

Our fund raising has gone way beyond our expectations as we close in on £18,000 – only £420 to go. It will allow us to expand our range of activities beyond the 2 big winter events. Its is all your doing so we are extremely grateful.

I will leave you with a few more stories from the pavement:

Cockney Keith (top picture) a big personality with a kind heart. We met him last night on a small homeless support run in the dry period between Christmas and New Years Eve. When we saw him by London Bridge tube he was busy giving directions to tourists. As he turned around and saw us, he ran over to give us both a big hug. He remembered us from last year. He looked a lot healthier and said he’d been looking after himself and was trying to eat healthy. Still he was struggling with a chest infection from being in the rain and cold. He was recently attacked by a man who went berserk for no reason and head butted him…fortunately a builder came to his rescue. Keith is really trying to proactively improve his life and has enrolled into a scheme at a local restaurant that trains homeless as kitchen staff with opportunity for employment afterwards. We discussed another potential employment opportunity with Keith and exchanged details to further explore. He was very happy to again receive our supplies and said the gift cards we give out are brilliant enabling the homeless to buy something substantial like a tent. Should you ever met Cockney Keith at London Bridge then have a chat…he is full of life.

Love is in the air…at least I hope that will be the case for this homeless man who we met at London Bridge (middle picture). When asked about his future wish he immediately said “to get married”. There is a tendency in society to reduce the homeless to people sitting outside in the cold with empty stomachs. While that is true each homeless person is also like you and me full of hopes, dreams and aspirations. The wonderful thing about those who have lost all is they generally are more open to sharing their stories and dreams – that’s when the magic happens. Like a peacock spreading its feathers, the conversation elevates the homeless person from the isolated figure to a person in full bloom. That is why these conversations are so gratifying both ways. We highly recommend you try it - what's to lose?

Arthur the rare books dealer, Paul the trader in the City and David the film director (bottom picture) – today they are homeless. The knowledge, wisdom and talent sitting in sleeping bags around London’s streets is vast and wasted. The saying “nobody is safe from homelessness” is true – life throws us curve balls and some can knock us out completely. Some like David the film director has incredible resilience and power. Despite being homeless he has directed a horror film and is drumming up media coverage about it. His aim is to get a premier release for the film and to write a book. That is pure life spirit at work.

We will be back with a short update right before our big event next Saturday.

Mikkel on behalf of team Under One Sky
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Happy New Year friend – we are back to share a few more stories from the streets of London. On the last day of 2018 our campaign went past £16,000 raised which is such excellent news. A timely boost as we are about to start the planning for our end of Jan event.

Michael (top left picture below) went searching for us after his homeless friend had shown him the supplies and gift card our team had given him. When Michael found us by Victoria station we were talking to Marcus who was sitting in a sleeping bag against a lamp post. Michael told me Marcus had looked after him and given him whatever little he had when he ended up on the street. I had a great chat with Michael who was a lively talkative and joyful scouser. As we step into 2019 take two lessons from the encounter with Michael. Share the spoils and good news with others. Even in the face of the worst adversity it is possible to maintain a light and joyful spirit. There are lots of uncertainty facing us globally at present, but as Michael we have a choice; “why go down when we can go up”.

Marcus who we were speaking to when Michael arrived was sitting in a sleeping bag that was borrow from another homeless person. He was over the moon about the gift card from us which would buy him a new sleeping bag.

Our Piccadilly team met Eric (bottom right picture below) who lives on the streets near Green Park. He used to be a driver delivering the papers until one day he woke up in hospital. All he could remember was being in a road accident. He was not alone in the delivery van, with him was a colleague who tragically died in the accident. He was 22. Eric only found this out when he woke up and the police showed him the mangled van. He couldn’t believe it and was deeply traumatised. But things were about to get even worse. He tried to return to work but was bullied and ostracised for what he “had done” to his colleague. He became an isolated figure, soon lost his job and life spiralled to the streets. He told the team a nice lady recently had bought him new clothes because what he wore was ripped and dirty. His belongings had also been stolen while he slept and all he had was the cardboard he slept on. Our life support package was exactly what he needed to get kitted out again. He was going to buy a sleeping bag with the gift card we gave him to get through the cold winter nights.

On humility and gratitude. Approaching a group of homeless on Victoria street we came across a man who was roaming without even wearing a jacket in the cold. We asked if he was homeless and he said “yes, well not really”. I asked him what that meant and he said “well I have a room for tonight in a hostel”. We had to convince him he was deserving of receiving supplies despite having a room for the night. He said “others might need it more than me”. We didn’t give him an envelope with a gift voucher as there was a mob where we were and a homeless man was being treated by paramedics after having been kicked in the head. After a little while our friend was back, he wanted to hand us 5 pence and said he had just gone begging to repay us. What a noble guy…stuck on the outside of our ME culture with nothing to his name…living from the perspective of giving to the neediest. We walked him away from the mob and gave him an envelope with a gift voucher but told him not to open it there to avoid him becoming a target. He asked what is it - I said “you’ll find out when you open it in your room”. His eyes lit up…he was bursting with anticipation like a child at Christmas. He was a wonderful man.

We will share another round of stories from our 15 Dec 2018 event with you next week. On the back of sharing these stories on social media we’ve had reports back from others who have been inspired to take action of their own to help the homeless. Our campaign has been viewed more than 4000 times and shared on Facebook almost 800 times – so the word is getting round.

Wishing you a wonderful start to 2019 where your support will continue to spread joy and warmth on the streets of London.

Mikkel on behalf of team Under One Sky
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£20,227 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 243 people in 3 months
Created November 15, 2018
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