Saturday’s Christmas shoppers were treated to the powerful sounds of a Leeds College of Music pop-up orchestra. The students were raising awareness and funds on behalf of Canopy Housing, a Leeds based charity that works to provide homeless people with temporary shelter by renovating derelict buildings.
The pedal-powered musicians played and sang some well known Christmas songs and succeeded in attracting a large crowd of shoppers as they performed in the city centre. The band’s conductor introduced each song and took the chance to remind the crowd that “Christmas time is a great opportunity to help those in need, particularly the homeless.”
A recent report by Shelter revealed that there will be over 120,000 homeless children this Christmas period, with 117 families in Britain becoming homeless every day.
Members of the Leeds theatre group, HalliGalli, sat in front of the band with placards urging the crowd to donate and support the homeless.
Event organiser and Social Media Manager for Canopy Housing, Steven Leaton said: “as we move into the festive season, a time that focuses on the comforts of family, security and warmth, not all of Britain will be experiencing those luxuries.
“Whilst some view it as the festive period, it is also one of the toughest times to be homeless and in particular, a rough sleeper. The lack of shelter and the cold and harsh weather bring with it more problems for Britain’s homeless. The longer nights and sharp drops in temperature bring an increased risk of pneumonia, frostbite and the increase in rain stops many sleeping sites from being used.”
“We at Canopy Housing are doing what we can to make a difference to the issues surrounding homelessness. But there is more to be done. We don’t believe homelessness as a social and economic issue is highlighted enough in the media, and not enough resources are being directed to tackle the issue. There are so many empty properties and building in the UK and for what ever reason, they are not made available.”
As the band made music to warm the hearts of the passers by, the money they raised will help keep those less fortunate warm this Christmas.