The Groundswell Self-Help Forum, Sheffiled, 1999
Mo Mowlem at the Super Speakout in 2000.
Groundswell: A brief history
Groundswell’s journey started as a campaigning project as part of the National Homeless Alliance back in 1996. Our aim was (and still is!) to support homeless people themselves to be at the heart of creating and delivering solutions to homelessness.
Bringing People Together
We ran a series of events such as the legendary Self Help Forums in Sheffield, to bring together homeless people from all around the UK who were all using their experiences of homelessness to make positive social change.
Groundswell was instrumental in developing the Speakout model – bringing homeless people in direct dialogue with policy makers to to inform and influence policy at local, regional and national level. Groundswell facilitated 100s of Speakouts around the UK including National Super Speakouts. We got the Speakout listed in the guidance of 2002 he Housing Act as one of the recommended techniques for consulting with homeless people.
We ran the Grant Award Scheme for twelve years – giving over £250,000 to more than 500 homeless led self-help groups. Giving people the resources and support to “do it yourself” and create their own solutions to homelessness.
Research & Advocacy
In 2003 we began developing our peer research (link) – that is involving homeless people in all aspects of the research process, going on to involve hundreds of homeless people in their Local Authority Homelessness Strategies across England.
A key finding of our research was uncovering that physical health was a bigger priority for homeless people than many services acknowledged. This led to us developing Homeless Health Peer Advocacy in 2010 – where volunteers help homeless people address their health needs by accompanying them to appointments.
Groundswell is nearing our 20th birthday – and we continue to develop innovative ways to enable homeless people to be involved in tackling homelessness – for the benefit of the whole community