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Crisis

Crisis

'Smiles for the Skylight'

The judges called homelessness charity Crisis Skylight project absolutely stunning and unbelievably successful. For head of Skylight, Helen Leech, however, the most rewarding reactions were from the homeless people who attended. My favourite quote from someone on the project was, I opened up like a blooming flower,she recalls.

Skylight is designed to re-skill and re-motivate single homeless people by offering flexible first steps back into learning and society through a variety of non-compulsory courses. For homeless people, the issue of rehousing, says Leech, is only one part of the problem: Homelessness is about more than a roof. Its causes relationship breakdown, substance abuse, ill health, often have a devastating impact on people's ability to function within society.

With little existing daytime provision of services for homeless people, Skylight leased an 11,000 sq. ft building in central London, which was transformed over the summer of 2002 into an activity centre. Skylight became fully operational in December 2003 and currently offers courses including computer maintenance, bicycle repair, photography, creative writing, and karate.

Since opening, more than 700 homeless people have participated in activities and, as of February 2004, an average of 100 homeless people are taking part in more than 45 different activities every day of the week. Here people are engaging at every level, says Leech.

Shaks Ghosh 
Chief executive
64 Commercial Street
London
E1 6LT
0870 011 3335
Reg no. 1082947
http://www.crisis.org.uk/

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