When everyone else was turning a blind eye to the increasing number of young people sleeping rough on city streets, we had our eyes wide open. One of the very first grants we ever made in the UK enabled the homelessness charity, Centrepoint, to buy two washing machines – a much needed resource for the young people who had nothing but the clothes on their backs. Aside from the real and practical support we gave, we also funded a piece of research which shone a light on the issue and helped to put youth homelessness firmly on the political agenda.
Looking back at what Comic Relief has strived to do over the years, an overriding theme shines through – we’ve given people living in poverty or facing injustice the resources, tools and support they need to improve their own lives.
In order to do this, we’ve often worked with other charities, campaigning bodies and even government agencies. We’ve also managed to help change government policy. And sometimes we’ve used our knowledge and skills to raise the profile of a particular cause or to campaign for change. When you stand back and take stock, what becomes clear is that we’ve been the catalyst for much social change in the years that we’ve been around. So let’s look at how we’ve done it…