Homeless charity turns its centre into a “human library”

A homeless charity turned its Commercial Road centre into a “human library” on Tuesday to encourage visitors to meet and speak to homeless people they might previously have ignored.

As a celebration of Adult Learning Week, guests didn’t withdraw paperbacks or CDs but instead sat down to talk with a “human book” - a person who has been helped by Crisis.

Donald Waugh, for example, presented himself under the title of “War on Waugh” and could share a story every bit as riveting and moving as a bestseller.

He spoke about his life as an actor, singer, dancer and recovering alcoholic.

He said: ““I volunteered to take part because I want to let people know that homelessness can affect anyone, regardless of their background, and because people rarely take the time to find out the story behind a person’s situation.” Other “titles” at the Skylight centre which helped people to learn more about homelessness included “Poetry the Elixir of Life”, “From Darkness to Light”, and “Crisis… my lifeline to recovery”.

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A charity spokesman said the event was met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

Veena Torchia, a senior tutor, said: “Past visitors have always found that they have had many of their previous beliefs on homelessness overturned.”

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