(sorry, but I don’t know if it’s homeless or homelessness–shame on me) (Editor’s note – it’s ‘homeless’)
Flash mobbing in Chippenham High Street
I’ve not done this before and I’m not sure that what happened today was technically a “flash mob” but what ever it was (technically or untechnically) I think our small presence on the High Street did not go unnoticed.
There were five of us, all volunteers, and we met up outside of the town hall and displayed posters each with a short message about homelessness and the work of Doorway. We stood in silence but people did stop to have a look or at least turn their heads our way as they went by. Some stopped and asked us what we were about and, for me, this was the most important part of doing something like this—that we start a dialogue that raises awareness and people’s understanding of homelessness in rural areas and how the work of Doorway helps.
The most exciting part of the morning was in Emery Gate. Originally we were going to stand outside but a spontaneous decision was made to walk slowly through the precinct with our placards. Hopefully we caught the attention of those people who might not necessarily be shopping on the High Street (especially Tesco Metro clientele) but we certainly came to the attention of the precinct’s security guards who advised us we could not display our placards! We did not argue (although afterwards I thought we should have at least asked why or stood our ground—haha), but as luck would have it we were stopped by a couple of people who were interested in what we were doing so this gave us an opportunity to stay and have a chat (with our placards on display) before leaving.
We ended up at the Butter Cross where again we had members of the public come up to speak to us. I felt that all of the conversations we had were positive and those we spoke to were interested to hear what we had to say.
Editor’s note: Two newspaper articles regarding this:
‘Placards in Chippenham Highlight Plight of Homeless’
‘Silent Protest Brings Homelessness to Town Hall’