With the help of hundreds of people, we have constructed a woollen house that provides a visual representation of the scale of homelessness in England. The house is currently on display in Norwich Cathedral until October 27.
Last year 4,677 people slept rough in England and this fact is represented by a house constructed out of wool – where each knitted scarf ‘brick’ represents a person who slept on the streets.
Since the appeal for knitters to get involved was made in the spring, hundreds of scarves have arrived at St Martins’ headquarters ready to form the knitted house.
The idea for the project came from Phillip Rowe, who co-ordinates the charity’s training centre which provides learning and development opportunities for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Phillip said, “I’m really pleased that what started off as a bizarre idea is becoming a reality! I think it’s going to look fantastic and we’re really encouraged that so many people have got behind the concept.”
The finished house will be on display in Norwich Cathedral between October 7 and 27, to coincide with World Homeless Day on October 10. The structure was built by local builder Mark Pitcher, who gave up many hours of his time to plan and build the structure. The supplies were provided by Longwater Supplies, who are longstanding supporters of St Martins. The Knitted House project has been supported by Norwich cathedral, who have offered the space to accommodate the house in the North Transept of the cathedral.
The Revd Canon Andy Bryant, the Cathedral’s Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care said, “People who are homeless should be accepted as individuals and not prejudged by their situation or challenges. Each ‘brick’ of the knitted house is unique and represents a person. Often homeless people experience a loss of identity so the diversity of the scarves reminds us of the distinctive and individual nature of each individual and their story.”
At the end of the project, the house will be dismantled and the scarves will be donated to homeless people and those in need in Norfolk. Some of the scarves will be available for sale to raise funds for St Martins’ new accommodation project in Norwich.