Having the director of the most influential film ever made about homelessness praising our work is a pretty great way of capping off our 50th year!
Ken Loach’s landmark drama Cathy Come Home was broadcast the year before NHYC was established so it was fantastic to have the director speak about us as he delivered the 2017 Longford Lecture. Lord Longford was of course a founder of NHYC, making it all the more fitting an occasion at which to highlight youth homelessness.
Earlier in November Loach visited the centre to learn more about our work and posed with our Patron Jon Snow on the famous #sofachange sofa. Symbolising the huge numbers of ‘hidden homeless’ young people we see every year, the sofa was on stage as the director gave his speech examining shifts in the landscape of poverty and homelessness over the past five decades.
These have seen many changes but sadly haven't borne out hopes for a reduction in the numbers becoming homeless, with young people in particular now suffering the consequences of sky-high property rents, low wages, declining welfare support and insecure employment. Loach also spoke about the hidden nature of youth homelessness, with so many young people (76% of those we support) not rough sleeping but sofa surfing with friends, relatives, or those seeking to exploit them.
Finally the Longford Prize was presented to those who had overcome their circumstances to establish a positive future, showing that with support from organisations like NHYC people can transform their lives to the benefit of everyone in society.
We would like to extend huge thanks to Ken Loach for his speech and for helping to draw attention to the dire situation facing so many underprivileged young people across the UK today.
UPDATE: you can read the full transcript of Ken Loach's speech here.
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