Change Homelessness is a project to raise £100,000 for Shelter, to help families cope with the devastating effects of being evicted and made homeless. With the faltering economy and government budget cuts, homelessness can happen to anyone and it is increasingly affecting families with children. Matt Fountain has set up Change Homelessness after the traumatic eviction of his parents from their family home and has come up with a creative way to help spread the message and raise funds for his cycle ride around the UK....
Hi, my name is Matt Fountain. I was born in Gravesend, Kent in 1986. I studied history of art at Christie’s Education, initially to become an auctioneer, but later went onto the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge to pursue academic interests. I’ve decided to put my studies on hold in order to put all my time and energy into Change Homelessness, before I begin a doctorate degree at the University of Oxford in October.
Witnessing my family’s experiences of dealing with eviction and experiencing the rising difficulties of our country’s poor economic condition are the main impetuses for my founding Change Homelessness. I wanted to use to my time out of research for the benefit of others, and I hope that we can raise enough money to really make a difference to those in need.
I had never even picked up a bicycle before January when I began training for this event. Now I’m cycling 6 days a week in preparation; sometimes up to 5 hours out on the bike. I’ve never even stayed in a tent before either! So I see the Change Homelessness Cycle Tour as real challenge for me, but one that will be very rewarding.
In 36 days (30th July - 3rd September), unaided, living in a tent and at times living rough on the streets, I will be cycling 2,000 miles around mainland Britain on a route through those areas most at risk of eviction and homelessness. I am attempting to raise £100,000 for Shelter but also raise awareness of this growing problem as the recession takes its toll on more and more people. By raising £100k for Shelter 100 families could stay in their homes for a further year.
In order for this to happen I need your help.
I have taken a year out of my career and I have invested all of my own savings into this campaign. For 6 months I have been trying to attract financial sponsorship from companies with no success mainly for the very same reason that people find themselves affected by this problem; the crunch of a poor economy.
Your pledge helps me buy vital cycle equipment, a tent, clothes, and food (on tour I will need to consume about 5000 calories a day!). I CANNOT BEGIN THE TOUR WITHOUT THIS VITAL EQUIPMENT. I will make the accounts of the Crowdfunding budget fully visible for investors, and where possible seek to further minimize costs. Any surplus will be added to the fundraising total. You can visit my crowdfunding page here http://crowdfunder.co.uk/change/.
One of my fundraising initiatives is a cool, creative activity called the Change Box, and for just £2 you can download and print out a template for a money box in the shape of a house. The boxes are intended to be decorated, and individualised. You are then encouraged to take a photo and upload it to the internet, under the hash tag #ChangeHomelessness.
This project is a charitable fundraiser but I don't believe people should invest without reward so as well as the houses I have spent the last couple of months working with designers to create a series of products which will be attractive to pledgers.
You can also pledge for other things such as lino-printed tote bags, t-shirts, and badges, which I make myself.
You can even join me along the route and help raise funds for Shelter too - http://www.changehomelessness.org/get-involved/.
Thanks for supporting!