Crowdfunding book project highlights homelessness

Norwich Quaker and author Robert Ashton has spent the past three months exploring rough sleeping and homelessness in Norwich and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the production of a book on his findings.

Robert has interviewed people with lived experience of rough sleeping. He  has also interviewed people whose job it is to provide support, and others inspired by their faith to volunteer.

Robert has written a book, titled ‘Any Spare Change?’ and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund its production. Once costs are covered, all income from the book will be given to St Martins, Norwich’s homelessness charity. The book will be available at the end of November, in plenty of time for Christmas.

Robert said, "We can all be too quick to make assumptions about the people we meet as we go about our day to day lives. This is especially true of those we encounter sitting in a shop doorway with their sleeping bag and maybe a dog. They may ask if you have any spare change. Do you reach into your pocket, or do you turn and walk away? What is the right thing to do?

"The fact is that nobody sets out to become homeless or to sleep rough. Circumstances conspire against them, leaving them vulnerable, frightened, lonely and often abused. I wanted to understand what led people to live on the street. I wanted to know what help was out there and most importantly, how I and others could help.

"I spent summer 2019 out and about in Norwich talking with people who have slept rough. I also met people whose job it is to help people who find themselves homeless.  I learned a lot over those weeks, gaining a unique insight into one of the saddest problems facing our society today.

"Buying this book will help St Martins to help others. Reading it will help you better understand the issue. It might even help you decide what to do when someone in a doorway asks you if you have any spare change."

You can pre-order your copy here

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