I am a textile artist, working in knitting and crochet, and I participated in an art project that was run by the University of Brighton and the Hummingbird Project in 2017.
My contribution was to make a large collaborative blanket with a message of welcome (the Welcome Blanket), and this became a project which took over my life for about 10 months. In the process, I learned more about the situation of refugees and migrants in Brighton, and specifically how difficult it is for people to actually find a secure and safe place to live here, despite all the warm words and good intentions of well-meaning people like myself.
During the course of the project, we made a film, and after raising around £2000 through donations, sales of cards and events, I donated the blanket itself to T4K.
After the Welcome Blanket project finished, I wanted to remain involved with the vital work that the organisation is doing, so I joined the group as a volunteer.
I’ve been active in community and left-wing causes all my life, from setting up a Youth CND group aged 12, through campaigning against Section 28 as a young woman and being involved in the early days of Brighton Pride, to more recent activism around housing and austerity since 2011. Currently, I volunteer as a welfare rights advisor at Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project, as well as helping with the publicity and admin side of T4K. I help to maintain the Twitter account, and update the website, and I help out with administrative and fundraising tasks as well.
I probably put in a couple of hours a week, but it varies from week to week. Sometimes all I do is post a couple of tweets, sometimes it’s drafting a report, or designing posters and tickets, which can take longer
I have watched T4K grow very rapidly from an idea to a living reality that is making a difference to people. It is amazing, but also frustrating in a way. When I first heard about the concept of finding 1000 people to donate a small amount each month to provide housing for refugees and migrants who would otherwise be homeless on our city’s streets, I thought it would be a quick and easy thing to achieve – especially as the minimum donation is just £1 per month.
Our regular supporters are already making it possible to house people – the idea works – but we still haven’t managed to reach 1000 monthly donors. So that’s my main hope for now, to achieve that milestone and see how far we can go from there.