The plight of homeless people will be the focus of a major conference to mark the 40th anniversary of Croydon’s Nightwatch charity this autumn.
Government minister Marcus Jones MP will join other leading experts on homelessness at the Croydon Conference Centre in Surrey Street on September 21.
They will look at how Nightwatch and its partners have assisted homeless people in the past, hear testimonials from clients past and present, and consider what might be done in future.
Mr Jones, the Local Government Minister with special responsibility for homelessness, will give the keynote address.
Other speakers at the Helping to Meet the Challenge of Homelessness-themed event, will include; Kenneth Olisa, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London; and Sue Medhurst, producer of the TV series Famous, Rich and Homeless.
The series, which was partly filmed in Croydon, followed well-known people as they experienced first-hand what it is like to live on the streets.
“The Nightwatch 40th Anniversary Conference on September 21 will propose a vision of the way forward,” said Nightwatch Chairman Jad Adams.
“Delegates can take the opportunity to debate the challenges, share innovative approaches, and offer solutions to the issues that the homeless and other vulnerable people face throughout the borough and beyond.”
Nightwatch’s dedicated volunteers have worked 365 days a year for four decades to help the town’s homeless community. And while many people have been helped out of homelessness, the charity’s services are just as much in demand in 2016 as ever.
As the largest volunteer organisation in the borough, Nightwatch operates a regular town centre meeting point which provides food and clothing, as well as support with fundamental issues such accommodation and routes to employment.
“In its 40th anniversary year, Nightwatch is seeking to work with the broader community to help address the challenges underlying homelessness, from unemployment and debt through to immigration and changes in the benefit system,” said Mr Adams.
“As Croydon regenerates with increasing town centre residential and premium offices, it cannot afford to leave behind its most vulnerable communities.”
The conference, which is being sponsored by Streets Ahead Estate Agents of Croydon, Coversure Insurance Service, Simply Lunch and the Croydon Conference Centre, will be chaired by Nana Acquah, a Nightwatch committee member who has worked with government ministers on immigration, crime and disorder issues.
Panel speakers will include Mayor of Croydon Wayne Trakas-Lawlor; Councillor Hamida Ali, Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice; Bishop Martin Wharton; Roger Davies of Nightwatch; Fatima Koroma of Croydon Food Bank; and Chennel Lawrence, director of operations, of CAYSH (Croydon Association for Young Single Homeless).
Former Nightwatch clients will give their personal testimonies of homelessness, before the conference discusses Challenges and Aspirations of the Future.
The conference is being sponsored by Streets Ahead Estate Agents, Coversure Insurance, Simply Lunch and Croydon Conference Centre.
For more information about attending the conference contact Julie Leggatt, at email@example.com or call 020 8774 5961 or visit: www.croydonnightwatch.com
You can book conference tickets directly online via Eventbrite on: https://nightwatchconference.eventbrite.co.uk