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Jodie, student and campaigner, reflects on joining the Housing and Homelessness campaign

Jodie, student and campaigner, reflects on joining the Housing and Homelessness campaign

Written by India Gray

In September 2023, I had the pleasure of speaking to Jodie Picknell, student at Anglian Ruskin University & co-chair for Peterborough Citizens’ Housing and Homelessness campaign. Jodie joined the campaign after a first meeting at Queen Katherine Academy and hasn’t looked back, working together with other campaign leaders and having regular meetings to find the root cause of homelessness and housing in Peterborough but most importantly, to figure out how to fix it. I spoke to Jodie to learn more about what initially got her interested in the campaign, lessons she’s learnt and the impact the campaign has had on her.

Young campaigners are holding two banners, one reading 'Better conditions', the other 'Better Care'

When did you first hear about Peterborough Citizens and the homelessness and housing campaign?

My lecturer approached me at university and told me briefly about the campaign. She informed me that it was to work on homelessness in Peterborough and asked if I was interested in helping. Of course, I said yes and haven’t looked back since.

What interested you in running the campaign?

I’m a social work student, so my role is very person centred, supporting individuals through difficult times and promoting human rights and wellbeing. The thought of so many people living in our city either homeless or in temporary accommodation breaks my heart, so I wanted to be a part of this campaign and make a change.

What are your objectives with the campaign?

The issue is huge, so currently the organisations working on the campaign are doing their own research and we will be meeting on 20th November 2024 to bring all of our research together. My personal target is to get people talking about this issue and to raise awareness.

"The thought of so many people living in our city either homeless or in temporary accommodation breaks my heart, so I wanted to be a part of this campaign and make a change."

Jodie Picknell, student and Peterborough Citizens leader

Have you learnt anything from the campaign?

I have learnt that people's time is valuable. Everybody on the campaign volunteers and takes time out of their own life to help improve other people’s lives, so respecting their time is crucial. I’m also learning more about people’s stories on an individual basis. I feel that it’s important to take time to listen to the testimonies provided and hear their stories. Being homeless doesn’t just mean living on the streets, it’s so much more than that. Many families are placed in temporary accommodation, such as hostels, and do not have a place they can call home.

Was there a particular moment when you felt passionate about the issue of homelessness and housing?

Right from the start I felt passionate and knew I wanted to do something to help. When I attended the first meeting, there were so many people in the same room, including children that all wanted to make a positive change - this made me feel passionate and determined to help make a difference.

Has being involved in the campaign improved your skills in any way?

It’s improved my confidence and I feel more comfortable speaking to new people. I have also met some amazing people throughout this journey.

We are Peterborough Citizens, a Citizens UK Chapter. We are a diverse alliance of people from schools, faith institutions, universities, trade unions, and community groups. Together, we organise to overcome injustice and win change on the things that you and your local communities care about most across the city.

Find out more about how you can get involved.

Is there anything you wish people knew about homelessness and housing?

Nobody wants to be homeless. Everybody has their own story and many of the reasons somebody ends up homeless are often not their fault, especially with the cost-of-living crisis, so I think having a non-judgmental approach is vital.

Would you recommend joining this campaign and how can people get involved?

People is power, so I would always recommend joining and being part of the change. I am just one of a number of co-chairs for the homelessness campaign. If you and your organisation would like to be part of the change, please fill out the ‘get in touch’ form on our website and either myself or another co-chair will be in touch to set up a meeting to discuss the campaign’.

What does Peterborough Citizens do differently compared to other organisations within the sector?

Peterborough Citizens is people-centred. We listen, coach and support each other, and we also show kindness, empathy and respect to one another.

Read more
Salomé Revault d'Allonnes

Our work on housing

We all deserve to live in dignity, yet millions of people across the UK do not have access to safe, secure or affordable housing. But it doesn't have to be this way. We're bringing everyday people together with powerholders to tackle poor housing and increase affordable housing in communities up and down the UK.

Posted by Salomé Revault d'Allonnes on 14 Mar, 2024