Here’s how Britain could be filled with kindness this Christmas (TWEETS)

Internet search engines tell us that Christmas is a season of giving, goodwill, and forgiveness. But for vulnerable citizens living in desperate conditions, it isn’t any different from the rest of the year. Fortunately, there are people who seek to embody the seasonal values of love and hope by reaching out to their marginalised neighbours.

Recently, the BBC explains, hooks and hangers have appeared on a number of walls, with a message written beside them saying:

If you don’t need it, leave it. If you need it, take it.

The idea is that people passing by will see the message and leave old coats, trousers, and other items of clothing for homeless people to take. And the hope is that this gesture will be a vital lifeline for society’s most vulnerable during the coldest part of the year.

Dubbed ‘walls of kindness’ on social media, this citizen’s initiative is a much needed act of humanity in an environment of economic injustice and rising homelessness.

In fact, fridges have also appeared on city streets, giving people the opportunity to leave food for the homeless to eat.

The only thing is that all of this has not happened in the UK, but in Iran.

Read on...

With official figures suggesting that around 15,000 Iranians are homeless, and some reports saying this is the number for Tehran alone, the humanitarian initiatives described above have spread quickly across the country. And thousands of Iranians on social networks have helped to fuel this process.

Walls of kindness


Walls of kindness2

In England, the number of homeless families with children who are living in emergency B&Bs has hit a 12-year high of 3,000 households, up by 45% from September 2014 according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). This figure, The Guardian reminds us, highlights how difficult local councils are finding it to house homeless families in a country where social housing or affordable private accommodation are sorely lacking.

The Conservative government, in spite of agreeing to end homelessness by 2030, has overseen a significant growth in homeless applications since it came to power in 2010. Homeless Link show how there were thousands more homeless applications in 2015 than in 2010. And this is no surprise given that the Tories’ housing programme includes building ‘starter’ homes which – with a required income of £59,000 (compared to the average UK wage of £26,500) – are simply unaffordable for the majority of citizens. And while social-rented homes give “the greatest social and financial return”, according to former housing association CEO Tom Murtha, the government is continuing to subsidise such home ownership initiatives.

In other words, the current government is doing next to nothing to remedy the shortage of affordable housing, with only half as many of the houses needed being built between March 2014 and March 2015.

Iran’s walls of kindess would be very welcome in today’s Britain, though they would only really put a plaster over a gaping wound. The only way to heal this wound permanently would be to officially recognise that providing homes for all citizens is not only beneficial to society economically but also the right thing to do morally. And by way of a seasonal justification for this argument, let’s look at what angels apparently exclaimed to a group of shepherds upon the birth of Jesus:

Peace on earth and loving mercy towards all people!

With this in mind, if you hear anyone linking Tory policies to values like love and generosity this Christmas or even claiming them to be good Christian acts, please remind them of the desperation present on British streets that has only increased under Conservative rule. And let’s insist – not only at Christmas but on each day of the year – that all human beings deserve dignity, peace, and justice.


Featured image via Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, Håkan Svensson Xauxa, and Darinka Maja

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed