A public square will be transformed into a living space to highlight the difficulties faced by homeless people.
Homelessness charity Emmaus Brighton and Hove will set up a living room and bedroom in Brighton’s Jubilee Square next month in what they are billing as ‘an uprising of kindness’.
The event will mark the 60th anniversary of the moment when the movement’s founder Abbé Pierre launched a similar uprising in Paris and will be one of hundreds of similar events across the globe.
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Organisers, who say the event will be the charity’s “biggest and best yet”, will use the uprising to call on passers-by to commit to an act of kindness to help those in greater need than themselves.
They say acts of kindness could include supplying underwear, socks or sleeping bags Visitors to the makeshift maison will also have the chance to sit down with charity members to discuss its work across the globe.
On February 1 1954, Abbé Pierre, took to the airwaves of Radio Luxembourg and appealed to the people of France to do something to help those sleeping rough on Parisian streets. It brought in donations of more than 500 million francs as well as blankets, stoves, and other items.
Business manager Joel Lewis said: “There are probably a lot of people in Brighton who think of us as ‘that homeless charity’ or ‘that second hand furniture place’ but we want to show that we are so much more.
“It’s about simple things that can make a big difference and give people the power to take control of their own lives.”
Companion Brendan, a former homeless resident with the charity, said: “Six decades ago Abbé Pierre looked around him and saw people sleeping outside, people without a voice, who needed him to speak out on their behalf. Emmaus is still doing that today.
“Sixteen months ago I was one of those people, but Emmaus has given me a home and work to do.
“Even if people just take the time to stop and talk to us, to find out a bit more about what we do, that would be great, but if they could bring a tin or packet of food, we will pass that to local food banks, or perhaps they might bring warm clothes or sleeping bags for local night shelters.”
Staff, trustees and companions will be in Jubilee Square from 10am to 4pm on Saturday February 1.