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Matt S

Matt S

Name: Matt Smyth
Age: 22
Year of the Fix: 2013
Location: Ballymena, County Antrim
Campaign: Changing negative perceptions about homelessness

I was quite shocked to see how big a problem homelessness is for young people.

 

And despite what people may think, not all homeless people are drug addicts or alcoholics.

 

In fact, many young people become homeless because of family breakdowns and financial problems.

 

My Fixers project is to raise awareness and break down negative perceptions around homelessness through a short film.

 

Just because somebody is homeless doesn’t make them less of a person.

 

They are still a person, not some ‘thing’ that lies in the street, or a homeless ‘It’ that lives in a shelter.

Here is a list of Fixers helping me with my Fix:

 

Adam Galway

Alister Nelson

Daniel Millar

Jason Black

Maire Sheeky

Mark Frew

Matthew Harrison

Oliver Sung

Wesley McLucas

Simon Community

The organisation helped me with my project by appearing in the broadcast story about my Fix.

 

Joanne English  Marketing Manager, said: 'Just wanted to say a big thank you on behalf of Simon Community NI for giving us the opportunity to work with Fixers. It was such a positive experience for all involved and the piece came out so well. Hopefully we will be able to work together again in the future and Iook forward to watching more Fixers pieces in the near future.'

  

Cambridge House Grammar School

The school supported my campaign as a few of their pupils had sofa surfed in the past and they knew the problems it raised.

 

Mrs E Lutton, Principal, said: 'It's great to see an initiative like this highlighting an issue that is bigger than one might think. We had two pupils sitting exams last year whilst sofa surfing so we know how disruptive it can be. To have an organisation like Fixers highlighting such things in the way that they do is fantastic given how they can engage with their audience.'

 

South Belfast Friendship House

July 2013

My story was featured in the Belfast Telegraph. Click here to read the article.

 

September 2013

I held a workshop on Friday 20th September at Cambridge House Grammar. Here's what a few of the pupils had to say about my campaign:

 

Julie Moore:

'Matt's workshop really hit home. To know that people are sofa surfing in my town, even in my school, made me feel blessed to have a loving environment to call home and I'm ashamed that we don't do more to help those who don't.'

Caroline Richards:

'Having seen Matt's film at a workshop, I'm surprised at the level of hidden homelessness that is in Ballymena, right on my doorstep. I knew it was an issue in big places like London, Dublin and even Belfast but to know that it's an issue in the town beside where I live makes it even more shocking. I think what Matt is doing is great because it raises awareness that stuff like this doesn't just happen to other people in far away - detached places, but actually to real people in real places!' 

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Fixers is a project of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and featured on ITV.

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