Monday, 6 November 2017

Is Your Classroom Healthy?

A window into a ThoughtBox CPD training day

Teachers discussing healthy classrooms - ThoughtBox CPD training day 2017

Perhaps you have some pot-plants lurking in the corner? Some inspiring quotes on the wall or some posters and displays covering the magnolia paintwork? Maybe you have an array of interesting paraphernalia for your classroom teaching sitting on the shelves? Anything you have added to your classroom to support your children’s learning goes a long way to providing a nurturing environment in which they can develop. But how healthy is that environment for them to emotionally flourish?

This was a key question explored during a recent ThoughtBox CPD training with the South West Teaching Schools Alliance on 20th October, held at one of our ThoughtBox model schools -  Marine Academy, Plymouth. Joined by thirty teachers from across nine different schools, we spent the morning together sharing and exploring a range of different inspirations, sticking points and methodologies for creating safe spaces and healthy environments for students to explore and discuss difficult issues.

Our world is changing rapidly and the pressures on our young people today are more acute than ever. Not only are they dealing with the everyday pressures that come with adolescence (“Nobody understands me”, “I suck” etc.) they are also having to deal with the anxiety of terror attacks, economic crises, global migration issues, Brexit and Donald Trump. Enough to frazzle anyone’s sanity and certainly important to recognise as contributing factors to the huge rise in mental health issues in schools across the country.

Supporting our young people is crucial in these rapidly changing times, but even more significant in the process is supporting teachers in guiding students towards a more emotionally resilient future. This is at the heart of ThoughtBox’s CPD programme, focusing on the following key questions:

  • How can we create healthy classroom environments?
  • What is the role of empathy in supporting emotional health and resilience and how can we model this?
  • Why is critical thinking a vital life-skill and how can our students develop and practice this skill?
  • How can we create safe spaces to support healthy dialogue, deep listening and active discussions in the classroom?

During the CPD at Marine Academy Plymouth, we firstly spent time engaging in understanding why we need to develop critical thinking and empathy skills with our students. Learning how to think, feel and ‘unlearn’ (or re-learn) are vital tools for our ‘toolkits for the future’, and it is useful as teachers for us first to understand their worth in our own lives, before seeing the significance of practising them with our students.

Hearing teachers from a range of different schools talking together about best-practice is always inspiring and engaging, as sharing with each other is what this vocation is all about. Understanding that a teacher’s best tool is their students’ questions also helps to shape our own engagement with students, and we spent time exploring the changing role of the teacher and the difference between a facilitator and an educator and how the physical set-up of the classroom plays a large part in this differentiation. Discussions around the table asked teachers to think about whether automated teaching has a place in the future, and if so, are we as teachers really prepared to be replaced by a robot? If not, what do we need to change within our own roles as educators?

Teaching empathy begins with modelling it. In order for young people to be practising empathy building in the classroom, it is vital for us as teachers to exhibit this with them in our lessons. By starting to see the classroom of people in front of us as little versions of ourselves, with similar pressures, anxieties and infinite potentials, rather than putting them into closed boxes with labels such as “Miss Trouble-Maker”, “Mr Rude” “Mr Always Late”, “Little Miss Never Hands in Homework” etc. allows us to feel more engaged in their own wider learning, development and flourishing.

Changing our own behaviour as teachers can have a dramatic impact on the way a child feels. Being seen, being heard and being listened to (no matter by whom) confirms our own importance and worth as individuals– and so simply by changing a few little practices in the classroom as teachers, we can have develop much more positive relationships with our students. During the CPD, we spent time exploring how by modelling empathy, we can engage more fully with our students and in turn have much more effective classroom management. A win-win, really.

Discussing ways to model empathy in the classroom

Exploring classroom management techniques

It is more important than ever for our young people to have somewhere to go with their questions, anxieties and uncertainties, and as the pressures around us all continue to grow, it is a sign of health and emotional strength to talk openly about these worries.

ThoughtBox has been created to support young people’s emotional health by engaging in healthy discussions about difficult issues (with our curriculum topics covering areas such as Refugees, Mental Health, Religion, Terrorism, Gangs and Happiness) and we spent time during the training exploring the significance of these issues on all of our lives. Like it or not, children from as young as nursery age are hearing snippets about what is happening in the news, seeing anxiety on parents’ faces, grasping that there are worries in the air. Many are struggling to cope with these pressures because they are not talking about them, or rather they don’t know where to go to talk about them. Half-told stories in the playground, rumours in the corridors, overheard conversations on the radio amount to half-truths, limited understandings and ever-growing emotional distress. It is, therefore, vital that we open up spaces for these conversations to be had openly and to be held in a safe way.

How can we help our students to discuss difficult issues in a safe space?

It was inspiring at the South West schools training to be hearing about the practices already happening in schools, however most felt that schools were falling short on giving students what they need – a place to go to voice their worries and discuss these global issues in a healthy, respectful way.

For many teachers, the anxiety comes with how to manage these discussions when faced with conflicting opinions, extreme views, uncertain answers and classroom management concerns. Part of the CPD training explores how to create a “safe space” for these conversations to happen, firstly by setting the tone and expectation that comes with having open discussions. We explored a range of techniques for dealing with controversial opinions, allowing teachers to develop tools to extract the idea away from the child in order to discuss it in its own right. We also explored the need to balance opinions with substance, helping our young people to discern which ideas are based on fact and which based on sensationalist rhetoric.

Is there an empathy deficit?

Following a conference I recently attended entitled Tackling the Empathy Deficit in schools” I posed the question to the thirty teachers during the morning’s CPD – “Are your students lacking in empathy?” The sharing that ensued was not only fascinating, it was terrifically inspiring and a strong reminder to us all about the dangers of labelling our young people as “emotional failures”. Many teachers shared examples of what they have witnessed in the playgrounds – of students supporting each other’s differences (whether they be racial, sexual, physical), of being much more tolerant to diversity and difference than many teachers felt they were growing up, and having a very strong consciousness of the need to care.

Kindness and compassion stood out as core life-skills that all of us teachers wish young people to learn and take with them into the world, and it was heartening to hear teachers share their stories of students exhibiting these skills and characteristics. It was widely agreed that empathy is something to constantly practice and engage in, and these discussions also led us to muse on the value and importance of us, as teachers, constantly modelling these empathic engagements with our students, no matter how annoying them may sometimes be!

What else?

The final part of the morning’s training was focused on practical ideas for embedding critical thinking and empathy into the wider school environment. Tutor times seem a wonderful opportunity to be having small, meaningful discussions with students about what is happening in the wider world. PSHE or Life-skills also provide good nurturing time to open up the box on some more controversial issues and many teachers shared practices that they already have established in their school, some using ThoughtBox lessons as little starter activities. We also explored the simple techniques of setting up Wonder Walls and Lines of Thought in schools, encouraging more proactive debate and discussions to be held outside of the classroom as well, always ensuring that children know where to go with their questions.

It was an enriching training day with an interesting group of teachers, sharing concerns, exploring new ideas and modelling best practice and I would like to thank the teachers who came to the training for their time, openness and sharing, as well as the positive feedback we received.

Here’s wishing you all happy, healthy classroom discussions in the future!

Rachel Musson

Director of ThoughtBox

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What would you change about school?

Listen to ThoughtBox Founder Rachel Musson's thoughts on what needs to change about our school systems...

Monday, 26 June 2017

ThoughtBox Thinking at The Festival of Education!

No summer is complete without a trip to The Festival of Education! Well, no summer will be complete from now on, this being our first visit but most definitely not our last!

Held each year in the beautiful grounds of Wellington College, The Festival of Education is a chance for educators from across the country (and indeed further afield) to come together for two days and share inspiration, ideas, workshops, talks and educational aspirations. 

ThoughtBox was delighted to be exhibiting at the Festival, and opened up our space for interactive activities during the two day "Swots Glasto" as coined by Bob Geldof, the ultimate in summer festivals...!
As part of our exhibit, we introduced the Step into Empathy challenge, a simple but effective way to get people thinking about the lives of other people and moving past the stereotypes:

Choose your shoe size...
and step into empathy...
We were pleased at how many of the students took part in the challenge, and were interested to talk with them about their preconceptions of the owner of the shoes and how they felt about them after walking around, literally, in their shoes

During each of the two days, we ran brief ThoughtBox Thinking discussions, inviting members of the public to come and sit together and talk about a particular question, linking to our ThoughtBox topics. Questions such as "Is our help always helpful? (Voluntourism)", "Where do we all call home? (Immigration & Refugees) and "What on earth are we eating? (Food) were just some of the questions posed and the discussions mused by our ThoughtBox thinkers.

As well as talking with educators about ThoughtBox and our range of resources, workshops and training, we also introduced some simple classroom ideas to support empathy building and safe spaces for difficult discussions. One of these ideas is to have a "Wonderwall" in the school (or classroom) - a place for students to write down some of the questions that they wonder, and to look at some of the questions that those around them are also musing...

On a similar thread (if you'll pardon the pun) we introduced the "Line of Thought" - a similar idea to the Wonderwall, but this time something that can be hung in the classroom and students can write questions or thoughts on, which are then pegged onto the line and unpegged to be discussed at various points throughout the day or week. This is a great idea to have in the tutor base, as it allows students to peg up questions that they may have at any time, to be returned to and discussed in a safe space.

Talks ranged from the practical (Making Maths Fun) to the mysterious (What if everything you knew about learning was wrong?) to the insightful (How sausage-machine schools are damaging the teaching profession) to the inspired (Small is Beautiful).  It was a great pleasure to spend two days talking and sharing ideas and energies with teachers and educators and to make so many connections and new partnerships. 

We very much look forward to returning again next year and continuing to spread the pleasures of asking questions and learning how (not what) to think...

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A learning journey in Spain

At the beginning of February, ThoughtBox headed off to Castellon in southern Spain for an annual conference of the Global DEEP Network. DEEP (which stands for Dialogue - Empathic Engagement and Peacebuilding) is a global NGO whose community are currently working across 17 countries to spread the values of positive social interaction through a range of projects, initiatives, education forums and community activities.

The gathering was an opportunity for members (old and new) to meet to share projects, explore new ideas and potential collaborations and work on some of the core DEEP strategies to move the global network forward.

The weekend began with an official DEEP seminar held at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon – a meeting that was open to the wider university community as an opportunity for people to come along and learn more about the DEEP network. Many of the DEEP core members are alumni of the Masters in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies from the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace taught at the Universitat Jaume I, with a core module delivered by Dr Alberto Gomes, the founder of the DEEP network.

As well as the core DEEP members, the meeting was attended by several curious students from across the campus, as well as the local press, who wrote an article about the gathering for the Castellon newspaper Elperiodic. 

Some of the highlights from the four day gathering included:

  • A screening of a selection of short films called Voices of the Migrant, created and screened by Celia Demoor, Director of DEEP France. Celia spoke about some of the work that she had been doing in what was the ‘Jungle Camp’ in northern Calais and also introduced some of the future projects that she has been given funding to take forward.

  • Working together within a World Café forum to exchange ideas and create questions about the work that DEEP is doing (and could do in the future) and how we can all support the global network

  • Dr Alberto Gomes talking about the notion of DEEP, and the importance of unlearning our collective behaviours to strip back to the innate values of the human spirit and the strong qualities of humanity

He spoke of what he sees as the Seven Vices of society and how DEEP is working to turn these vices into virtues:

1.Turning Ignorance to Knowledge
2.Hatred to Love
3.Fear to Hope
4.Arrogance to Humility
5.Competition to Cooperation
6.Greed to Generosity
7.Apathy to Empathy

ThoughtBox is working within the German node of the network and our first collaboration is the formation of Youth Café. Find out more about DEEP and this exciting new collaboration on the ThoughtBox Blog or visit the DEEP Deutschland website to learn more.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

DEEP ThoughtBoxes

ThoughtBox is delighted to have teamed up with DEEP Germany to collaborate on educational projects with schools and young change makers across Europe. 

DEEP Germany is a non-profit association which advocates for positive change towards a more sustainable and peaceful world. They do this through a series of projects and activities, all built around the notion of bringing people together, encouraging dialogue and discussion and promoting tolerance and peace.

Explore more of their ideas in the short video entitled 'What is Peace?':

One of DEEP Germany's main areas of focus is Training & Education through which the DEEP team plans, creates and implements project days for schools on the topic of peace and sustainable development. As part of these projects, the DEEP team took over a school in Madrid for three days earlier this year, running consecutive project days based around sustainable development and peace education. Over 800 students and 80 staff worked on four different aspects across the project: Social Inequality, Sustainable Consumption, Migration Crisis and Terrorism. Discussions and debates were then created using the forum of a 'World Cafe' and presentations and exhibitions were given at the end of the workshops. 

DEEP Germany also fosters empathic engagement and critical thinking through a series of Intercultural EncountersWithin this context, the group run a range of projects and gatherings such as theatre, cooking or football events amongst migrants, refugees and local German communities, providing opportunities to gain fresh views on societal problems whilst reflecting upon one's own role and remaining open and active in promoting tolerance and empathy. See their Projects Page for more information. 

DEEP Germany is part of an international N.G.O called Global DEEP NetworkStanding for Dialogue, Empathic Engagement and Peacebuilding, the DEEP network is a global community currently working in 17 countries including Japan, Afghanistan, Australia, Indonesia and Pakistan.

All of the DEEP organisations - or 'nodes' as they are called - are working alongside each other across the world, sharing common values and beliefs and supporting each other's efforts. Each DEEP network is striving to build a nonviolent and ecologically sustainable world where people everywhere are able to live a good life ("Buen Vivir") in peace.

DEEP believes that we all have much to gain and lessons to learn from marginalised communities when dealing with our myriad global problems, be they ecological degradation, violent conflict, racism, inequality or alienation. They firmly believe that peace is the norm in human life and the violence taking place in several parts of the world is the anomaly.

DEEP Germany and ThoughtBox will be working together on a variety of education projects to foster peaceful, active and critical engagement with societal issues of today, all of which will encompass the core aims of ThoughtBox: Critical Thinking, Empathy Building and Unlearning.  One of the first projects of the collaboration will be establishing an interactive cross-cultural sharing platform  - called Youth Café  - to bring young people from a range of different countries and communities together in dialogue (more details to follow soon).

Learn more about the  Global DEEP Network or the German node by visiting the website here or meet some of the core DEEP Germany members below.


Meet some of the DEEP Germany members

Lina Westermann
Lina Westermann is a peace practitioner and advocate of intercultural dialogue. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Social Sciences from the University of Cologne and a M.A. in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies from the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace in Castellón, Spain.
She is passionate about connecting people and bridging divides through culinary projects, sports and peace education. With her German-Peruvian background, she has a special research interest in indigenous knowledges and cosmovisions and concepts such as Buen Vivir. She has coordinated and planned several educational projects and social events amongst others the Human Rights Festival in Cologne.

Marisol Cristina Bock
Marisol Cristina Bock is an advocate of peace and intercultural dialogue. She has lived in 6 different countries and switches between languages and cultures with ease and sensitivity. She has a B.A. in Arts and Culture from Maastricht University and a M.A. in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies at the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace in Castellón, Spain. Marisol is enthusiastic about interdisciplinary academia and aims to move beyond conventional thinking patterns. This has led her to collaboration with research projects within a wide range of social sciences. In the practical field, Marisol has been involved in co-creating and managing educational projects around peace building, intercultural dialogue, music and martial arts. She has worked with people from diverse origins, generations and social backgrounds in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel/Palestine, Egypt and Indonesia. Marisol is passionate about holistic project design, systems thinking and the connections between personal growth and social change.

Mirko Murad Sbeih
Mirko Murad Sbeih is a peace practitioner and social innovator. He holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Maastricht as well as an International Master’s Degree in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies from the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace in Castellón, Spain. As a practitioner Mirko is versed in skills related to organizational management, negotiation and leadership. Following his passion for investigation and implementation of structural social change, Mirko has been an active member of several organizations, dealing with intercultural dialogue as well as local capacity building and simple innovative technological solutions for sustainable development. Within the ‘Global DEEP Network’, he links his academic and professional expertise to practical projects in the field of peacebuilding.

Wibke Gehringer
Wibke Gehringer is a peace practitioner and works as a manager and social worker at a refugee shelter of the German Red Cross, where she is part of an intercultural team. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Cologne University as well as a M.A. in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies from the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace in Castellón, Spain. Wibke is passionate about interdisciplinary research in Peace and Conflict Studies and focuses on intercultural identities, immigration, and post- and de-colonialism. She is fluent in English, Spanish and German and has work experience in various projects in Peru, Argentina, Tanzania, Spain and Germany, among others. Since 2015, Wibke has been an active member of the Global DEEP Network and co-founded DEEP Germany. DEEP reflects her philosophy and work promoting a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Janosch Sbeih
Janosch Sbeih is a new economics advocate promoting policies, institutions and organisational structures that are designed to put the well-being of people and planet at their core. After working in Johannesburg, Janosch studied at the University College Maastricht where he approached topics of sustainable development from an interdisciplinary angle. He deepened his passion for alternative organisational models in the M.A. Economics for Transition at Schumacher College, Plymouth University. At the International University College Turin, he pursued his interest in innovative governance institutions for the commons in the LL.M. Comparative Law, Economics and Finance. Janosch worked for the German development cooperation agency GIZ and is currently employed as a research fellow for an ‘EU Horizon 2020’ project investigating social innovation in the maker movement. He is also part of the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship Programme of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Power of Thought

This post was originally published through Project DEFY - an innovative educational model working in Bangalore, India, to support creativity, innovation and unlearning. Explore their website here:

Our education systems are broken. This is not new news, nor is it surprising; many countries have failed to really “update” their education systems at all over the last fifty to one hundred years, instead allowing the world to march merrily on and leave the educational foundations lingering in the era of factory-line production.

Herein lies the issue so many students across the world are facing – their education system is training them to be robots: teaching them to follow a system in which they are trained to follow orders, absorb information and amalgamate amongst the masses.  Critical thinking, individual development and creativity are so often pushed to the side-lines in favour of standardisation, regulation and target-driven quality control.

Asking questions is one of the most powerful tools that we, as individuals, can wield in the world. Questioning what we are told - what is being presented to us as fact - is vital in this ever-changing world, where the microphone is given to anyone with the internet and an opinion, and where “facts” no longer need to be true.  However, so often, learning within a formalised school system isn’t able to give students the time or space to think for themselves and question the world around them. They are certainly not given the time to contemplate what they are learning; what it may mean to them and why it is being taught.

Time is a limiting factor within classroom learning and often reflection is left to the students to do elsewhere. The question “Why?” may well be one of the most important words which we use: it allows us to stop, reflect, consider and respond with meaning and understanding, and yet this is something that our education systems rarely encourage. Head down, absorb and regurgitate – no questions asked – seems to be our current route to pedagogical success.

ThoughtBox has been created to challenge this system. Our education philosophy believes in the importance of critical thinking: challenging students to “unlearn” stereotypes and assumptions and allow new understandings of seemingly familiar issues to emerge.

Developing a series of weekly lessons focusing on global topics - with students
encouraged to ask questions, rather than learn answers - ThoughtBox is an online curriculum with a vision to encourage critical thinking, empathy and global tolerance; a product of one teacher’s frustrations at the limitations of the education system in which she was working.

The fundamental importance to us all, as individuals, to be able to think for ourselves and to question the world around us is built into all of the curricular - designed without a rigid end goal; simply as a tool to engage students’ minds. Being able to look at an issue and pause, reflect and consider a range of views is a tremendously valuable skill. Understanding that there is often no “right way” to see something is part of empathy building and a way for us to learn to tolerate difference in opinion and belief.

Learning in formal lessons often has an end goal; a “right answer” or a correct way of seeing things. Yet in reality, life just isn’t like that. Every day there are a hundred thousand answers to our potential questions; each of us channelling our own thoughts about what is right, what is wrong, which way is up, which way down. ThoughtBox allows students to see the world through different eyes; to challenge feelings of empathy and to encourage new ways of thinking. Building empathy is a vital skill for a globalised world; being able to live harmoniously within our ever-globalising environment being crucial to a successful future.

An innovative thinker once said: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
Unlearning is a skill that we all need to practise. This style of learning is one of the most crucial ways for us all to live, grow and adapt successfully with the rapidly changing world. There is no shame in changing your mind: no negative in casting aside old knowledge when it needs to be ‘updated’; no failure in re-learning how to see the world. In fact, in many ways it is a sign of wisdom to be able to have the courage to re-think and change our thoughts. After all, there is no finality when it comes to thinking and learning.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Stop, look and listen

Although a non-partisan organisation, ThoughtBox is supportive of an initiative called The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness. ThoughtBox Director Rachel Musson was recently asked to write a short article for their campaign page exploring empathy-in-action when it comes to dealing with homelessness.

What do you do when you walk past someone on the street? Pretend they’re not there? Give them money or offer a friendly smile? Wonder how they ended up there?

Homelessness is not a choice, and understanding that it could happen to any of us at any time is just one step in trying to support the ever growing numbers of homeless communities across the world. As economic pressures continue to bite; as welfare systems struggle to support the most vulnerable; as climate change and natural disasters rob people of their homes and civil wars force people to flee their lands, more and more people are finding themselves homeless and displaced…through no choice of their own.

However, there is a judgemental stigma attached to homelessness that is hard to shake off – and the negative way we collectively think and feel about homeless people in our communities across the world is unfortunately a large part of the problem. By reducing people down in our judgements, we are failing to see how suddenly and easily people can (and do) become homeless, and how we are all just a couple of steps away from being on the street ourselves.

Understanding how to support homeless communities does not start and end on the street - it begins much further back by trying to understand some of the root causes of homelessness and work to prevent them in the first place. The circumstances leading to homelessness are many: loss of employment, domestic abuse, relationship breakdowns, mental health issues, lack of affordable housing...the list goes on and does not take into account external forces causing high numbers of global displacement.

Whilst living for a while in Pokhara, Nepal, I was stuck by the large numbers of street children living rough on the banks of the Phewa Lake. Family break-down, poverty; urbanisation and overcrowding; dislocation through migration and civil war; child labour, loss of family members; exploitation by adults; emotional abuse or neglect, the rising number of street children remains a significant problem across Nepal. Hand-outs might be keeping these children alive, but when listening to some of the stories of why these children ended up where they were, it seemed clear how this level of hand-out charity was merely perpetuating the problem and supporting a negative cycle: the problems of homelessness were being soothed rather than solved.  

If you choose to listen, you will hear the same stories from homeless people everywhere. I have heard them told time and again as I have travelled around the world: in Lima, Peru; in Arusha, Tanzania; in London, UK; in Kampala, Uganda. Esther Kidden, a refugee from Sudan, found herself fleeing from civil war to Kampala when she was nine years old to seek refuge with her mother’s sister, but consequently ended up on the streets following systematic abuse by this same aunt. A lack of social support and governmental aid meant that Esther’s choices were bleak. However, by sharing her story with people who stopped to listen, she was given a hand up (through a place at SINA, a social-innovation academy) and is now working on developing a street-kids rehabilitation centre, using her own experiences to support others. By listening, rather than judging, we are taking one very large step towards tackling the root causes of homelessness.

Although there are many organisations working in communities across the world to help displaced people to get back on their feet, many are still focusing on treating the symptoms of homelessness, rather than the cause. Understandable – these are not easy-fix issues, and offering material support (food, clothing, shelter) to someone rough-sleeping is a very positive first step in care. But it is not the only thing we should be doing and all of us have the chance to offer our support beyond this – without spending a penny.

“A hand up not a hand out” is a maxim used by many organisations supporting homeless communities; working to get people back on their feet and finding a new pathway in life. Moving beyond this, it is positive to see governments now recognising that many of the ripple effects leading to a rise in homelessness on our streets are pieces in the same jigsaw puzzle.

We as individuals can now help by working to remove the stigma associated with rough sleeping. Seeing the homeless, I mean really seeing them as fellow human beings; understanding that their story is just one or two moves away from our own, is a tremendous first step in offering support. Stopping, looking and listening to people’s stories goes a long way in supporting people on the streets, helping us to better understand where we need to channel our attentions in the wider community to try to prevent these stories from perpetually being re-told.

Treating the homeless as the problem is the problem, and so by listening and learning to empathise with some of their struggles - without judgement - we can begin to remove the negative stigma and come together to work on treating the causes (not just the symptoms) of homelessness.

This article was originally published on the news page for The Labour Campaign to End Homeless website. Click on the link to visit the page: