Before you accuse me of losing my place-making marbles there is a poignant link. One of the many themes running through Truman Capote’s novel and the eponymous film is primarily the main characters’ need for security and safety. Another one is both the two young protagonists Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak are running away from difficult pasts and dysfunctional existences, in search of a new start and a place to call home.
I don’t know at what point I made the correlation in my mind between a breakfast event I attended last Thursday, at the New Horizon Youth Centre in King’s Cross, the capital’s leading day centre for homeless 16 to 21-year olds and the film ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.
Underneath the iconic glamour of Audrey Hepburn’s cocktail dresses, long cigarette lighters and her heart-rending rendition of ‘Moon River’; it is all about disparate people brought together in a building, yet, wanting desperately to belong somewhere. This is what brought this all home at the New Horizon breakfast last week, that it offers a tangible refuge to young people who “haven’t fitted in” and in need of a roof over their head.
I have been involved in New Horizon for some time now and have always been astounded by the incredible group of individuals involved in every aspect of making this organisation function, who do an amazing job with very limited resources. Additionally, they live up to and enact another of Holly Golightly’s beliefs, that ‘nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s’ and over the years I have seen the safe haven and positive help New Horizon offers to marginalised young people.
So, the point of “Breakfast at New Horizon’s” was to highlight that there this place in Central London where ‘nothing bad can ever happen’ to its vulnerable young adults and to welcome some of London’s top residential developers to come and see this for themselves. This convivial gathering also put that old adage to use namely that ‘two heads are better than one’ or in this case many senior property figures can harness fundraising, industry knowledge and their vast experience to discuss ideas for a long-term solution that provides a much-needed emergency shelter to tackle London’s homelessness crisis.Thanks to the smooth professionalism of Alex Lawrie of Lawrie Cornish PR, a remarkable posse of prominent members of the property industry met together to see how the centre operates. Their reactions are best captured in the following video: https://vimeo.com/320546046
Their responses are best summed up by the recognition that the property industry must do something more to help, it has to make a difference and to demonstrate that this sector truly has a heart. Judging by some of the really positive reactions to this appeal; these business leaders now recognise how hard the New Horizon Youth Centre works in order to change young peoples’ lives for the better. They also seemed to appreciate the huge social value provided by the centre and have committed themselves to helping New Horizon with the vital work they are carrying out.
It was New Horizon Youth Centre patron and Channel 4 anchor-man Jon Snow who put it quite starkly – “nowadays it is raw homelessness… which is really catastrophic” This phenomenon cannot be ignored, neither can it be brushed under the carpet, nor should it be acceptable in modern society and in a thriving 21st century metropolis like London.
New Horizon celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017 and it happens to be one of the few places in London where the young homeless can find everything they need under one roof – housing advice, a friendly place, access to accommodation and most importantly a safe place to hang out – where ‘nothing bad can happen’ to them.
On reading this if you want to get more information about this event, please take a look at this press release: