Major conference marks 40th anniversary of Croydon’s Nightwatch charity
A Government minister will address homelessness in Croydon in a major conference to mark the 40th anniversary of Croydon’s Nightwatch charity.
Marcus Jones, the cabinet member for local government, will join other leading experts at the Croydon Conference Centre in Surrey Street.
Mr Jones and the industry experts will look at how Nightwatch and its partners have assisted homeless people in the past, hear testimonials from past and present clients, and consider what might be done in future.
Nightwatch provide direct support for homeless people in the centre of Croydon and operate a regular town centre meeting point which provides food, clothing and support with fundamental issues such as accommodation and routes to employment.
Jad Adams, Nighwatch’s chairman, said: “The Nightwatch 40th Anniversary Conference on September 21 will propose a vision of the way forward.
“Delegates can take the opportunity to debate the challenges, share innovative approaches, and offer solutions to the issues that the homeless and other vulnerable people face throughout the borough and beyond.”
Other speakers at the event include Kenneth Olisa, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, and Sue Medhurst, producer of the TV series Famous, Rich and Homeless.
The TV series, which was partly filmed in Croydon, followed well-known people as they experienced first-hand what it is like to live on the streets.
Mr Adams said: “In its 40th anniversary year, Nightwatch is seeking to work with the broader community to help address the challenges underlying homelessness, from unemployment and debt through to immigration and changes in the benefit system.
“As Croydon regenerates with increasing town centre residential and premium offices, it cannot afford to leave behind its most vulnerable communities.”
The conference will be chaired by Nana Acquah, a Nightwatch committee member who has worked with government ministers on immigration, crime and disorder issues and panel speakers include London Borough of Croydon Mayor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor.
Former Nightwatch clients will also give their personal testimonies of homelessness, before the conference discusses Challenges and Aspirations of the Future.
The conference is being sponsored by Streets Ahead Estate Agents, Coversure Insurance, Simply Lunch and Croydon Conference Centre.