Fundraiser 5: Centrepoint - Ending youth homelessness
'a nice coffee to go with my housing crisis'
I've had two ongoing conversations in the past year with colleagues; different cities, different countries, same concerns. At the Letterpress Workers International Summit in Milan, the site opposite Leoncavallo SPA (the squat where LPW takes place) is being developed for new housing and hotels. In September 2022, there was just a big hole behind the hoardings. By June 2023, there was the skeleton of a vast complex spanning multiple floors. At Hot Bed Press in Salford, where I've been teaching a day each week this year, tutors and studio users reflect on how the land around the studio is unrecognisable from pre-Covid. Huge high-rise flats block out the studio light and the old view down the hill into the city of Manchester is now mostly obscured. Who do these developments benefit? How is access to affordable housing affected? How does the local community feel? Were they even asked? What happens next to the area immediately around such developments? If a young adult wanted to buy a flat in the area they grew up in, could they?
Walking out from Hot Bed Press on my lunch-break one day in early summer, I found a new coffee shop on the ground floor of one of the developments. Nice place, friendly service, delicious cortado ;) But then I noticed there were only two tables to sit at; the rest of the place was roped off with a forbidding metal chain and a clear sign: RESIDENTS ONLY. Twenty more tables, every single one unoccupied. I could never afford to rent a flat in this development (let alone buy one), but at least I can get a nice coffee on my way past. All praise to the powers that be who decide these things. Thank you for my crumbs.
This print is a direct response to the questions raised, with the mixture of cynicism, skepticism and sarcasm that such modern city developments engender for me personally. But those feelings don't change anything by themselves, so print action was required! This was done after-hours at Letterpress Workers in Milan this summer. Even in the evening, the temperature was still around 30 degrees so there's a chance that each print also contains a drop or two of sweat. I hope you'll agree that only adds to their value.
What is this fundraiser for?
All the money, minus postage costs, will be donated to Centrepoint, the UK's leading youth homelessness charity. Their latest statistics show that, in 2022, more than 112,000 young people in England presented to their local authority requiring homelessness prevention and/or relief. The first two recommendations they make are: 1/ Building more one bedroom and studio social housing & 2/ Asking local authorities to allocate more social housing to vulnerable young people. I lived in social housing in Manchester during a period when I took voluntary redundancy and went freelance to do what I do now. It was essential during that period that I had security of tenure, a rent that couldn't be increased beyond a certain threshold and housing workers I could call on to resolve issues. Via donations to Centrepoint, £100 can "help a homeless young person to gain access to counselling and mental health support" or fund four safe places to stay for a night.
'How private developers get out of building affordable social housing' - New Economics Foundation, 2022
'Inside Housing calls for the next government to Build Social' - Inside Housing, August 2023
'The story of social housing' - Shelter
Press release about UK government plans to replace the Section 106 legislation - March 2023
- Edition of 50
- 15 available to this fundraiser (35 distributed to my fellow Letterpress Workers in Milan, June 2023)
- 30cm x 40cm (fits standard shop-bought frames at that size)
Printed in three separate passes from wood type, coffee stirrers from the Leoncavallo canteen and an ink roll-off. That last element is what makes each one unique.
Each order also includes a signed gratitude card, letterpress-printed by hand in my studio. One lucky donation will also receive one of the actual coffee stirrers, direct from Milan and still encrusted with ink!
- Print despatches within three days in reinforced card envelope.
- If you'd like to pick the print up in-person at a forthcoming fair, I can refund the postage, or add it to the donation. I'll be at Small Publishers in London (27th & 28th October), Sheffield Print Fair (11th November) and Oxford Fine Press Fair (9th & 10th December). Send me a message!
- Sadly, I'm only making this print available in the UK. My experience lately has been that customs charges (to the EU especially) are unpredictable with random amounts charged for packages. I'd hate that to happen to you. But, if you're happy to take a chance, feel free to purchase and I'll email to check how you want it to be sent. You'll need to add a bit more to the postage cost so we'll work that out too.
Fundraiser 4: Shelter's campaign to end child homelessness
This fundraiser was a nice one-two just before Christmas 2022. People could buy a print as a present and together we could benefit Shelter's then-current campaign to end child homelessness. 50% of the sales income was donated. (I even provided links to suitable shop-bought frames to make it super-easy!)
TOTAL DONATED: £62.50
Fundraiser 3: Refugee Action's Afghan Arrivals Fund
This fundraiser was for a flat-print version of my 2021 'Printmaker's Top 10 HITS!' contribution. Choose a lyric, make a print. The band is Irreversible Entanglements and the words are by vocalist Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother): "they say freedom down the road / if we could just hold on". They spoke to me powerfully because of their universality. But, throughout August 2021, as I worked on the print, they clearly spoke too of the evolving situation with the withdrawal of US (and other) troops from Afghanistan.
A further note: I worked for the UK charity Refugee Action from 2007 to 2012 on a service that provided advice and advocacy to people granted refugee status. Their Afghan Arrivals Fund was an obvious choice to donate to.
TOTAL DONATED: £250
Fundraiser 2: RECLAIM project (Manchester)
This print was made in response to some of the systemic issues we are experiencing locally, nationally and globally, and was shown in the Reverting To Type exhibition of contemporary letterpress protest posters in 2021. It seemed only right to donate 100% of any sales to a relevant organisation. I chose Reclaim, who are based in my home city of Manchester: "We exist to create a society in which being from a working-class background no longer presents barriers to achievement, success, or influence."
TOTAL DONATED: £240
Fundraiser 1: Todmorden food bank
This fundraising series began during lockdown as I reflected on my responsibilities as a parent, as a partner and as a member of different communities. Covid-19 meant many people were unable to work. For those closest to the breadline, this has meant increased use of food banks. Within half a mile of my studio (in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, UK) two new food banks started operating since lockdown began in March 2020.
The print bundle cost £25, the amount needed for Todmorden Food Bank to provide five food parcels, each lasting three days.
TOTAL DONATED: £250