We launched a self funded project in 2015 called Please Look After Me. We created ice sculptures of children and placed them in different locations around the UK, including London, Manchester and Bradford. We wanted to highlight the vulnerability of those who find themselves sleeping rough. Homelessness and rough sleeping is rising and we are becoming used to seeing people sleeping in doorways and tents in most towns and cities across to UK. Without support networks such as family and good friends, or access to good mental health support, if things go wrong, it can be too easy to find yourself homeless and not so easy to get back on your feet.
After seeing a rise in homelessness again we wanted to do something again to highlight this and to also help people, even just a small gesture, who find themselves without anywhere to safe to stay.
We began planning the event a few months before, we needed a location, volunteers and sponsors to help make this happen. The Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester welcomed us to use their outdoor space and supported us with security, warm drinks for volunteers and helped spread the word. Shelter and The Penny Appeal volunteers came along to help wrap gifts and talk to the public about issues surrounding homelessness and help that they can access. Hallmark Cards provided all the wrapping paper and a team of volunteers on the day too. The ice was donated by The Ice Co. Bez from Bezmond films created a video of the whole event. A poem was also written and read by Lawrence McGill aka Riff Raff who experiences homelessness first hand.
The day of the ice tree was wet and miserable day. It rained and rained! But then when we had finished the tree we all had some dry clothes to change into, then had a warm home to go to. It is poignant that it rained because it reminds us that for someone who is homeless, they have to endure that day in day out and not have dry clothes to get into and a warm bed.
The ice tree was created by our team over the course of the day. Everyone from our team had volunteered their time for free. Jamie Wardley, Claire Jamieson, Rich Spence, Mark Wilson and James Wilding were the sculptors on the event. We also has a little help from our friends to dismantle it too, so thank you Liisa Dudgeon and Tom Wood for your muscle later in the day!
We had invited on social media and in press for people to come down to see the tree and donate a gift. We asked for winter warmers such as hats, scarves, gloves etc…, toiletries, food and people also donated to the ever loyal four legged friends too!
With generous donations by the public all around the area, we collected over 350 gifts, 100 of which went to the Booth Centre in Manchester and the others were distributed by the Penny Appeal around the UK.