This is the week we say goodbye to London. Well, at least, the week we cease to call it home. We’re off to Birmingham, since the cost of being in London in no way reflects the benefits of still being here. Birmingham is home to many of our friends, it’s a cool city for music and the arts, and close enough to the capital for working here when I need to.
We’re very lucky, in that neither of us are in jobs where we’re trapped into staying in an unaffordable house by the promise of future earnings. It seems all too common now for people caught between crash-related falling wages and pre-crash defined housing costs to end up in ‘speculative debt’ – taking out loans or putting rent on credit cards, in the hope of things picking up and them paying it all off.
One of the latest projects that Amplified are involved in is looking at this very issue – ‘Shirts4Shelter’ sees shirt maker TM Lewin teaming up with housing and homelessness charity Shelter. They are helping raise money, awareness and support for Shelter, as the charity seek to help and advise people from across society who are facing housing difficulties. It will culminate in a ‘shirt amnesty’ in London and Manchester – bring an old, sellable shirt to be donated to Shelter’s charity shops, and get a TM Lewin shirt with a hefty discount, with part of those sales also being donated to Shelter. a massive win all round, methinks.
They’ve also produced a series of videos, telling the stories of people caught in what are sadly increasingly typical stories of modern housing crisis. Here’s the first one. Please feel free to share it around, tell your story, and check out www.shirts4shelter.co.uk to find out just how TM Lewin are helping out.