The Café Art 2017 MyLondon calendar is a social enterprise initiative for London art groups and individuals affected by homelessness. It publishes a calendar every year as part of a contest supported by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and Homeless Link. This year, the calendar features four winning photographs from four St Mungo’s clients.
Four photographs taken by four St Mungo’s clients from Haringey Recovery Service are part of the winning 13 that feature in the Café Art 2017 MyLondon calendar that is set to raise thousands of pounds.
After receiving training from the RPS in July this year, 105 people affected by homelessness were handed single use cameras with the theme ‘My London’. From more than 5,000 colour and black & white prints, 20 were chosen to star in the Café Art MyLondon 2017 calendar.
In 2016, the calendar went viral resulting in partnerships with projects around the world. Café Art is currently helping several other cities including MySydney, MyNewOrleans and MyToronto which will be launched next year.
Helping clients to improve and maintain their wellbeing
The project sits well with St Mungo’s aim to help men and women affected by homelessness on an individual level, working to identify the support they need for their particular journey to recovery. A key part of this is that, alongside accessing treatment they need, our clients are also taking steps to improve and maintain their wellbeing.
Kevin Farrell, St Mungo’s Recovery Worker, helped coordinate the Haringey Recovery Service clients for the project. He said: “The winners from the recovery service have really made the effort to be involved with this amazing project. I have personally seen the huge impact not only winning but just being involved has had. This is a massive achievement from all who participated.”
“Art helps as a way of expressing emotions”
Our client Alana, whose picture is one of the winning 13, said she finds art helps as a way of expressing emotions. It’s a useful tool for recovery. It can be quite therapeutic. She added that: “We can use the camera and use photography to show our point of view, or homeless people’s points of view of London or how they see the world, the negative or the beauty.”
Another St Mungo’s client, Leo, also part of the winning 13, said: “It’s wonderful to be involved in a project like this. I’ve really liked the project. It’s nice that we’re all equal. We all had the same bit of kit. We all had the same cameras and no one had the upper hand. I’m a competent communicator so I found it easy to approach people. It’s really nice to be a part of it.”
Empowerment is the purpose
Paul Ryan, director of Café Art, said their goal is to empower people affected by, or at risk of, homelessness, by giving them skills and building their self-esteem. He added: “Participants in the project are either currently homeless, have experienced homelessness in the past or are at risk of becoming homeless through addiction or mental health. Haringey Recovery Services has been a fantastic partner to work with on this project and we are very happy that they have done so well.”
The 2017 MyLondon calendar was launched online on Kickstarter. The goal was to raise enough funding for it to pay for part of the printing costs when it is ready in early October, ready for the official launch on Monday 10 October – World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day.
The calendar is now available to pre-order via the Café Art Kickstarter page.