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Hopestead has officially launched with two drive in cinema events that have raised thousands of pounds to support those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

The ‘Drive in For Hope’ cinema events took place on 9 October and 10 October in Ipswich and Norwich with a showing of ‘The Greatest Showman’. Ticket sales and donations at the events have raised nearly £4,000 to help tackle homelessness. 

The special events, held to coincide with World Homeless Day on 10 October, took place to mark the official launch of Hopestead. But the new charity began an initiative earlier this year, offering support to Flagship Group customers during the pandemic when it became clear that Covid-19 had the potential to increase homelessness.  

Hopestead has since awarded in excess of £350k to support nearly 700 families who might be at risk of losing their homes. Some of those who received this support shared their stories in a moving film which was also shown at the Drive in for Hope on Saturday. 

Marie-Claire Delbrouque explained: “Now more than ever we are seeing people at risk of losing their homes. Doing nothing is not an option for us and we feel we have a fundamental responsibility to tackle this problem in our region. 

 “Which is why we have launched Hopestead. We believe everyone deserves a place to call home. We want to end homelessness in the East of England 

“This is an ambitious goal. But by tackling the causes of homelessness and working in partnership with likeminded organisations already working hard to eradicate homelessness, we believe we can achieve this together.” 

Rebecca White, CEO of Norfolk based Community Interest Company Your Own Place – which aims to find innovative as well as cost-effective solutions to homelessness – supported the launch of Hopestead. She said:  “For me the film resonated with homelessness as The Greatest Showman worked to make people normally ignored by society, visible.   

“And that’s what we need to do with homelessness.  We need to change the conversation so people realise it can happen to any of us.   

“Our intention, as we at Your Own Place start our relationship with Hopestead, is to be a part of the conversation and the solution.  I know already that we share the same vision in eradicating homelessness in the east.” 

Dr Jan Sheldon, CEO of St Martins Housing Trust commented: “St Martins has been working in Norfolk over nearly 50 years to support homeless people and we are excited about the launch of Hopestead in our region. We have a shared vision of ending homelessness and we know the solution comes from partnership working. We can achieve more by working together, and this involves prevention work, long-term housing and sustained support to help each person fulfil their potential.” 

Claire Staddon, Chief Executive of Emmaus Suffolk said “Emmaus Suffolk is deeply impressed with Hopestead’s extraordinary focus and intentions regarding homelessness in the Eastern region. Working together in partnership, focusing on kindness, will enable us all to deliver this ambition and make real change to those whom most need it. 

Patsy Johnson-Cisse  of Fresh Start New Beginnings commented: “We are really excited about working with Hopestead in the future. I believe they are going to help by not only preventing people becoming homeless but getting people off the streets too. I believe our relationship with Hopestead will be really quite special.”