Groundswell Timeline / 2002
This photo was taken at the third and final Groundswell Forum at the Ponderosa in Sheffield. Around 300 people attended and in this image you can see many Groundswell staff members and delegates enjoying food and talking.
The Groundswell Forums were gatherings of homeless people which included Speak Outs and also offered workshops including meditation, Yurt building, design and printing of newsletters. The Forum was the first positive collective action on a large scale by the homeless community and had an up-beat festival feel whilst still focusing on real issues.
At the time, service user involvement in homelessness was not widespread. The Forum symbolises a shift from homeless people being perceived as being the problem to being perceived as holding the solutions. Policy makers such as Louise Casey attended this Forum (along with John Craven!) and this offered homeless people the opportunity to share stories and personal experiences, beginning the process of influencing at policy level.
“The Forums attracted people from all over the country who came to offer contributions such as workshop ideas, food and positive energy. One year someone drove all the way from London with a van load of pizzas!”