Supporting homeless people in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes worship band Testament have recorded a song to support the work of Open Door among homeless people in the city ...
Band member Mike Baldwin takes up the story:
"Homelessness is something that most of us either only glimpse out of the corners of our eyes as we rush around or we deliberately turn our heads away if we encounter it head on with no escape. It’s uncomfortable.
"The fact that, in our technically advanced society, there are vulnerable members who aren’t catered for, who don’t fit, is embarrassing. In some things we are so damn clever, in others we remain in the dark ages.
"There are many reasons for ending up on the streets or someone else’s sofa. Teenage pregnancy resulting in the daughter being kicked out, the arrival of a new step-parent leading to arguments, long-term illness resulting in financial debt (how many months could you survive without your income?) are all common reasons.
"In Milton Keynes we started a soup run in 2007 that now runs 365 evenings a year. And while it’s conducted by a couple of churches, many of the volunteers aren’t churchgoers or Christians. We minister to around 70 polite and articulate clients each evening; like the majority seen in Famous, Rich and Homeless on BBC 1.
"We also work closely with Open Door MK, a charity that supports the homeless and vulnerably housed. They run drop-in centres a couple of times a week as well as organise support services to try and plug people back into ‘the system’. But not everyone fits into the system, so their work is quite tricky.
"We know of eight clients who have died over the years, some on the streets. ‘Little Tony’ died recently round the side of Christ the Cornerstone church. He was 34 and the second client we’d met in 2007.
"He used to drink and dabble with drugs and everyone connected with social services, MK hospital, paramedics, the police, YMCA and so on all knew ‘Little Tony’. He was kind, soft and vulnerable and was offered support but wasn’t able to take advantage of it due to his addictions. So he fell through the net and slept on the streets.
"Testament is an MK-based worship band and one of their tracks See Me Now (from the album Go and Tell) highlights the world of ‘Little Tony’. You can watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXo6ebtyQ0o and all the proceeds from Amazon and iTunes downloads go to Open Door.
"So far the video has had more than 800 views but we would like to boost this and the track downloads. Please take a couple of minutes to watch the video and, perhaps, download the track to ensure around 80p goes to Open Door MK."