How one class of Sheffield students are doing their bit to help city’s homeless

King Ecgbert’s year 12 health and social studies group has had an incredibly busy few months.

Shout out Homeless project
Shout out Homeless project

Back around Christmas, the group of 16 and 17-year-olds joined forces with their teacher to figure out ways they could better support families and people in the city who were struggling over the festive period.

They decided that would launch a collection in the classroom, creating care packages which could be sent to relevant charities and venues across Sheffield, to support vulnerable families, and homeless people.

“A few of us got talking one day, and we just decided we wanted to do something to help,” said Zuleikha Iqbal, aged 17.

Shout out Homeless project

“There’s such a lot of need in the city, so many homeless people struggling to make it through, and that becomes particularly obvious at times like Christmas, so we started by making people in the school aware of what we were doing, and the kinds of things we were looking for with our collection.

“Students and staff alike were so generous, donating items such as sleeping bags, bedding, toiletries, warm clothing, and food.

“From there, it began to trickle out to our own communities, and then one boy in our class began sharing things on social media, calling for people to send in anything they could to help.

“Before we knew it, we had items pouring in from all over Sheffield, and Hope Valley.

“We’d allotted some space in the classroom for a few bags of items that had come in, so we could sort them. Before long, the entire classroom has been overrun with bags of clothes, boxes of items, and crates of tinned foods. It was unbelievable.”

Since that day, the group – who call themselves Yorkshire Youth for Change Sheffield – has seen everything from designer clothes to sanitary products, and everything in between, come through its doors. They have begun working in collaboration with Help the Homeless, and The Family Life Centre Church.

“It’s really taken on a life of its own, in a way that nobody was expecting,” said Zuleikha.

“We began approaching different charities, and were sending items out all across the region, to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and life centres.

“There are now about 30 of us in the class pitching in together, regularly sorting the pools of items that continue to pour in, and distributing things across the city.

“It’s been so good to see how people have rallied together. We honestly weren’t expecting to get a huge amount when we started, but we’re so grateful to see how people have dug deep and made the effort to send things. We all think that, as young people in the city that have so much, we have a responsibility to give something back to people who don’t. We’re really pleased to be making a contribution.”

Visit @yyfc.sheffield on Instagram for details.