Life on the streets photo exhibition at Ipswich Library

January 28, 2019

On 1 February 2019, a new photography exhibition with a difference will be opening at Ipswich County Library, Northgate St, Ipswich, IP1 3DE.

It’s an exhibition where the photographers are all either currently homeless or have been in the past and use health care services provided by Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust (EPUT.)

The first day of the exhibition is a private viewing and by invitation only. The exhibition is free and is open to the public from 2 – 28 February 2019.

The exhibition is part of the Perspectives Project from the national charity, Volunteering Matters in partnership with EPUT. It aims to engage with and give a voice to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community.

Healthcare professionals at EPUT are encouraging homeless people in Suffolk to make use of health and social care services available to them. However, it can often be a challenge to get vulnerable people to engage with services.

Fiona Hanlon, Mental Health Specialist at Volunteering Matters said:

“Many of the photographers have said that when you are homeless every day is the same “ground hog day” and that boredom is a huge issue. Being involved in the project has given participants a chance to do something positive and creative, work as part of a team and many have uncovered a talent they didn’t know they had. These pictures reflect the diversity, talent, hopes and hardships of a unique group of individuals and we are very proud and excited to share them with the public.”

Adrian Kirkby, Service Manager at EPUT Health Outreach said:

“I am delighted that EPUT’s Health Outreach team has been able to be part of the “Life on the streets” photography exhibition project with Volunteering Matters as it highlights the lives and challenges of our service users in their own very visual way. I hope that as many people as possible will visit the exhibition and imagine, if they can, what it is like to live a life on the streets and perhaps help us to challenge some of the preconceptions these homeless people face and possibly offer them a kind word or gesture when they next see them on the street.”

Disposable film cameras were given to people engaging with the support services provided by EPUT Health Outreach and the other local services. Those taking cameras were asked to make images which they felt an emotional connection to.

Adrian Manning a volunteer on the project said:

“It’s been a privilege and an education working with the staff, volunteers and most of all, members of the homeless community on the Perspectives Project as we collectively created our unique Life on the Streets photo exhibition.”

Another volunteer, David Page added:

“It’s been interesting working with these clients and hearing their stories first hand, especially hearing the struggles of everyday life and the challenges that are presented to them.”